Proceedings of the
Fourth International Congress of Thracology
Rotterdam, 24-26 September 1984-
JAN G.P. BEST and NANNY M. W. DE VRIES
OF E. J. BRILL AND TERRA ANTIQUA BALCANICA
LEIDEN • SOFIA
Congress organized by the Henry Frankfort Foundation, with the aid
of grants from the City of Rotterdam and the Netherlands Ministry of
Education and Sciences
Coverdesign: Roel van Dijk
ISBN 90 04 08864 4
© Copyright 1989 by E. J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands and
Terra Antiqua Balcanica, Sofia, Bulgaria
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
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PRINTED IN THE NETHERLANDS BY E. J. BRILL
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TERRA ANTIQUA BALCANICA
Address by the Minister of Education and Science, W. J. Deetman,
on the Occasion of the Opening of the Fourth International
Congress of Thracology, Rotterdam, September 24, 1984
Thracians and Mycenaeans: methodology of the parallelism
D. F. Easton
Possible Northern Intrusions at Mycenae
Thracians, Mycenaeans and "The Trojan Question'
R. F. Hoddinott
Relations actuelles eotre la Thrace, la Grece et l'Anatolie du nord-
ouest a l'age du bronze moyen et recent
Mykenai, der mittlere Donauraum wahrend des Hajdusamson-
Horizontes und der Schatz von Val&tran
Metal Vessels in Bronze Age Europe and the Context of Vulchetrun
Andrew Sherratt and Timothy Taylor
LINGUISTICS AND HISTORY
Thrakische Namen in mykenischer Schrift
Ethnonyme und geographische Bezeichnungen der Thraker bei
Iris von Bredow
Midas Wanax Lawagetas 153
Frank de Graaf
Le roi et 1'autorite royale. Paralleles politico-religieux thraco-
Les influences myceniennes sur Ies Thraces 167
DlMITRIOS C. SaMSARIS
Mycenaean Penetration into Northern Greece 174
D. W. Smit
Mycenaean Thrace from the Fifth till the Third Century B.C. A
Thracians, Luwians and Greeks in Bronze Age Central Greece ... 191
F. C. Woudhuizen
Tombeau royal de Svestari et certains aspects du culte sepulcral
Zu den Anfangen der griechischen Kolonisation an der agaischen
Kiiste Thrakiens und den Lageverschiebungen der Thrakerstamme
gegen Ende des 2. und Anfang des 1. Jahrtausends v.u.Z 218
Chr. M. Danov
Thracian Burial Rites of Late Bronze and Early Iron Age 231
D . Gergova
Postilla to the Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress of
John G. Griffith
Tournee en Rhodope du Sud et a Samothrace 246
N. C. Moutsopoulos
Das Problem der kulturellen Einflusse in der Vorgeschichte und in
der Geschichte 280
'Black Water' in the Thracian Hydronomy 290
Considerations chrono-geographiques sur l'oscillation alo en Thrace
et en Daco-Mesien 2%
The Fourth International Congress of Thracology was held in the Museum
Boymans-van Beuningen Rotterdam, from September 21 — 26, 1984, under
the auspices of the International Committee of Thracology "W.
Tomaschek" founded during the Third International Congress of
Thracology in Vienna, June 1980. There it was agreed that the next
congress should take place in the Netherlands.
This congress was organised by the Henri Frankfort Foundation, a
private institution, whose main aim it is to stimulate the study of
Mediterranean pre- and protohistory.
It was particularly gratifying to the organisers that they succeeded to
make the congress coincide with the first opening week of two important
exhibitions of materials from Bulgaria and the German Democratic
Republic in the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen: 'The Gold of the
Thracians' and 'Troy and Thrace'.
After the former congresses held successively in Sofia, Bucharest and
Vienna, research in the field of Thracology has been intensified. New
ways of thinking about Thracology in Indo-European context and special
themes came to the fore.
So it was not by accident that the congress at Rotterdam was the first
one with a theme: 'Thracians and Mycenaeans.' Thracology and
Mycenology are just two branches of Indo-European Studies, which are of
equal value in the discussion on the interrelations between proto-Thracians
and proto-Greeks , both having lived in the same geographic area. Of
course, none of the circa 150 attendants to the congress would have
expected to be able to resolve the problems raised to general satisfaction
and to reach consensus. But some Thracian and Mycenaean phenomena
may have been either linked and associated or unravelled.
The subjects of the lectures could be grouped generally under the
headings of archaeology, history and linguistics. Approaches not dealing
with ideas or discussions about Thracian-Mycenaean parallelism or
interrelations have been put in Varia Thracologica.
Since the number and range of subjects covered by the papers was very
wide, particulary from the Bulgarian part, we decided not to present again
the greater part of the Bulgarian contributions which had already been
separately published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences before the
congress.' To our great disappointment we could not include some other
interesting lectures delivered by a number of congress-members, who did
not send their promised papers.
The support and participation of foreign scholars from many countries
to the congress contributed highly to its success.
Moreover, our thanks are due in the first place to the Rotterdam City
Government which gave most welcome and practical help and to the
Museum Boymans-van Beuningen for the use of its lecture-room and for
the great hospitality shown the members of the congress. Grants from the
Dutch Ministry of Education enabled members from abroad to take part
in the congress. For the official receptions and entertainment we owe
much to the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Euromast, the Ministry
of Education and the Rotterdam City Government.
Finally we do hope that the content of these Proceedings may
contribute to the success of the Fifth International Congress of
September 1986 Jan G. P. Best
Nanny M. W. de Vries
1 Contributions au IV e Congres International de Thracologie, Academie Bulgare des
Sciences, Institut de Thracologie, Sofia 1984.
ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE
DRS W. J. DEETMAN
on the Occasion of the Opening of the
Fourth International Congress of Thracology,
Rotterdam, September 24, 1984
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure and an honour to speak on the occasion of this
This Congress is not just an ordinary scientific happening; it is — in my
opinion — much more than that. It would not surprise me if this 4th
International Congress of Thracology will be remembered — together with
the magnificent exhibition of Thracian art — as the occasion where
Thracology stepped out of the shadow of its sister sciences, and claimed a
full place of its own. And it does this at a very young age! Only twelve
years ago it was born as a modern, international science at the first
International Congress of Thracology in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
It was in 1972 the chairman of the actual congress, my colleague
Professor Alexander Fol, who took the initiative for the first congress and
so started an international approach to Thracology. He understood that
the values and treasures of Thracian culture should not be limited to the
countries of South-Eastern Europe but should be shared with the nations
of the world. By means of a series of conferences (this is the fourth one)
and of meetings at Plovdiv, Alexander Fol has made Thracology a vital
part of the cultural heritage of Europe.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am proud that this important event takes place in the Netherlands. It
illustrates that the Netherlands play a significant role on the scientific
scene where Thracology is concerned. I am happy that enthusiasm in the
Netherlands was great enough to take up the organization of both the
congress and the exhibition. On behalf of all of you I should like to thank
the city of Rotterdam for its part in the organization and for the splendid
facilities offered. But long before the city of Rotterdam came into the
picture there was a bustling activity going on in the modest premises of
the Henri Frankfort Foundation at Amstelveen, where Mrs. Nanny de
Vries and Professor Jan Best have been working for years, on a voluntary
basis, to make this congress possible.
The city of Rotterdam is built on two shores of the river Meuse, "de
Maas" as we say, and therefore bridges have always played an important
part in it. In the Second World War Rotterdam defended its bridges as the
people defended its ideals. Today again Rotterdam lays bridges between
cultures and nations. Earlier I said that Alexander Fol had the vision that
Thracology should be an international science and that he is the one who
is responsible for its international character today. In Thracology scientists
of East and West work together, sharing knowledge and insight, but
especially friendship and mutual appreciation in a world where East —
West relations are tense, I am sad to say. In Thracology we see how the
things that unite us are stronger than those that divide us and how in the
light of beauty and culture lasting values can blossom.
Thracology is a bridge between East and West and its builder is in our
midst, here in Rotterdam, where people know how important bridges are.
It is in this spirit that I declare this congress opened, wishing you all a
fruitful exchange of ideas and a pleasant stay in the Netherlands.
THRACIANS AND MYCENAEANS
Methodology of the Parallelism
1. The evolution of ideas on the origins of the population of South-
Eastern Europe is known. I shall, therefore, omit the historiographic
survey of the views from the "Etruscoid" inhabitants of "pre-Indo-
European" times to the "Indo-Germans" of the "Eastern" group, among
whom traces of "non-Indo-Europeans" have recently also been observed,
incidentally on the basis of very inconclusive topo- and partly ethnonymic
material. The problem today is whether the sources already give an
opportunity for formulating more accurate working hypotheses on the
ethno- and culturogenesis in South-Eastern Europe with Asia Minor,
based also on better considered theoretical prerequisites for the
phenomena of a substrate character.
2. Such theoretical prerequisites could be sought in the term "ethnocul-
tural community" introduced by me for Thracian Antiquity in the paper
"Migrations in Thrace", read at the Gottingen bilateral symposium in
1978. Here I should like to point out that in the absence of a script and
letters, and I would also add even during the entire literate Antiquity,
language could nowhere be the main ethno-differentiating feature, i. e. a
feature of indisputable belonging to a concrete tribal community, often
anticipated by us. The extreme heterogeneity of the differentiating (but
not completely differentiated!) ethnic components in an ethnic massif can
be observed even in Hellas during the 5th century B.C., and even to a
greater extent before and after that century. There, too, language would
remain a tribal and not a national characteristic. According to Thucydides,
the greatest authority on Hellenic affairs of that time, there was a great
difference between the Ionic (Athenian) and the Doric (Spartan) paideia,
i. e. between their individual, group and public modes of behaviour.
3. The term substrate ethnocultural community presupposes not only
and even not so much a linguistic definition as and above all a
methodologically consistent set of criteria to characterize the paideia of
the family, tribe, the tribal community, the state organization, or — in
other words — the type of culture as a mode of historical behaviour.
Obligatory in this set of criteria would be the customs but not the way of
life; the settlement system but not the quality of the fortifications and the
10 ALEXANDER FOL
architectural outlook; the early cosmo logical and mythological thinking but
not its literary-philosophical interpretation; the simple monotheistic
(doctrinal) religion but not speculative personifications; the ethnographic
and folkloric reality as a ritual system but not the syncretic cults.
4. South-Eastern Europe and Western Asia form a historical unity, the
birthplace of the most ancient types of culture known to us, from
Mesopotamia to Mycenaean and to Ancient Hellas. This historical unity
has been proved to be spatial and typological, which doubtless
presupposes interaction between the various zones and regions, and —
according to the working hypothesis — also ethnogenetic. On European
soil metallurgy emerged for the first time on the Balkan Peninsula during
the 5th — 4th millennium B. C, probably about two millennia later than in
Western Asia Minor. Migration routes for technological models to Europe
may be assumed. Such an assumption would be valid for both agriculture
and pottery production. These phenomena marked the gradual division of
the population into ethnocultural communities, with initial impetus for
movement at Altai and in an east-west direction.
5. Indo-Europeans and Indo-Iranians are not ethnonyms but names of
substrate ethnocultural communities. These names would be quite accurate
if referred to the two large groups, conditionally named Indoi, which
appeared on the historical stage one after the other. The Indo-Iranian
group occupied the lands to the south of the Himalayas in the Punjab area
and Mesopotamia, in the Caucasian-Black Sea basin, in Western Asia and
Asia Minor where it was to form its contacts with the Semitic community.
The Indo-Iranians settled to the south of the forest-steppe belt in the
European territory of the USSR. The western boundary zone of their
settling passed through the Balkan Peninsula. From an archeological and
cultural-anthropological point of view this boundary zone is best traced in
Ancient Thrace from the Danube to the east of the territories between the
rivers Iskar and Osam, to reach the Gulf of Corinth at Delphi. This
finding is in force for the time from the Neolithic Age though elements of
the two substrate ethnocultural communities were dispersed both to the
east and to the west in great depth. To the west, however, the Indo-
Europeans settled on the land of the continent.
6. A few years ago I named this boundary zone "Hyperborean
diagonal", in an attempt to remind scholars that even Herodotus knew
well the route from the mythical people in the north to Delphi, the route
of their gifts wrapped in straw, in other words — the space of the
powerful boundary (ethno-)cultural relations. The Indo-Iranian cultural
circle is strongly permeated with characteristics which are manifested with
different semantic intensity in its regions and even in its various individual
THRACIANS AND MYCENAEANS: METHODOLOGY OF THE PARALLELISM 11
parts. Some of these characteristics are often referred to the Indo-
European cultural circle, but they do not belong to it as a system.
7. These characteristics are the solar cult and the folkloric and fire rites
belonging to it, the chthonic cult with its folkloric and official rituals of
ithyphallism, the solar-chthonic dual principle in cyclic synthesis or as
antithesis. This system served as a basis for the primary cosmogony,
expressed above all in the vertical structure heaven-earth-ocean or the tree
of life, though sometimes in a horizontal structure through the idea of the
sun reflected in the fire. The primary mythology was also formed on the
same basis, substantiated with the self-fertilization of the Great Mother-
Goddess who gave birth to the Son-Progenitor, as well as the early
religion inspired by the faith in immortality, the classicized Hellenic
version of which was to be the faith in the immortality of the soul.
Ideological monotheism also emerged on the same foundation, being
expressed in the spiral notion about the evolution of the son of the
goddess, of the king as king-priest and king-priest-god, as well as
8. Years ago, when there were less linguistic and archaeological data,
the researchers of Ancient Thrace decided that all that they saw in this
land around the middle of the 1st millennium B.C. and a little later, and
which reminded them of Mycenaean culture, was a survival. These
survivals or reminiscences of the Mycenaean age in Hellas were assumed
to be the result of a possible, though belated, influence of the Mycenaean
centres to the north.
Things look different nowadays. The Early Neolithic symbolism was
based on mythological binary oppositions, such as: round — sharp,
narrow — wide, straight — undulating. The gradual imparting of meaning to
them resulted in the appearance of signs that preceded the script. This was
accompanied by an increasing complexity in the symbolism of colouring
pottery and later all the objects for everyday and ritual use. It is of
particular importance that between Anatolia and South-Eastern Europe,
the Caucasian-Black Sea basin included, there emerged -a relatively unified
ritual and mythological symbolism, proved by basic objects and
zoomorphic identifications: with the cult of the Mother-Goddess (and the
cult of the dead) were connected the double axe and the cross, while the
female figure also appeared sometimes in the shape of a cross.
Thrace for a long time preserved the ancient semantics of the principal
mythological cult complexes of this region: the birds and deer, female
images, the horse and chariot, the bull, etc. Very valuable were the
semantics of the monuments dated to the 1st millennium B.C., namely the
megalithic monuments for the first half of the millennium and the tholos
and vaulted tombs for the second half. The entire megalithic culture may
be explained solely with the concept of the worship of the Sun. The whole
burial architecture may be explained only with the notion of the Great
Mother-Goddess and her Son-Progenitor (King-Priest-God).
The monuments are not at all evidence of belated revival of Mycenaean
traditions in non-Mycenaean lands, they are monuments of the Thracian
culture of the 2nd millennium B.C. which, however, continued its full-
blooded life also in the 1st millennium B.C. and partly even afterwards in
the centuries A.D.
9. At the time when Thrace fell into the field of vision of the earliest
Greek poets and writers, the population of these lands had reached the
definitive form of its religious thinking, of its religious doctrine and its
historical behaviour. During the subsequent centuries this spiritual life,
i. e. culture as a type of historical behaviour, did not change substantially.
It only adapted itself to the changing material living conditions during the
Iron Age. Its superficial or insufficiently assimilated components were
discarded, but the deepest strata of relations between man, society and
nature were preserved.
10. The problem is when it is possible to date and how to characterize
the lasting stabilization of the results of the long-term processes of
association and dissociation of elements which were structure-forming for
the socio-religious thinking and hence for the type of culture defined as
behaviour. Everything suggests that the period between the 16th and the
11th century B.C. was the great age of the stabilization phase of the
associating elements of the cosmogony, mythology and religion in the
nucleus of the Thracian diaspora, i. e. south of the Danube, in the
Propontis basin, in North-Western Asia Minor and some Aegean islands.
In other words, this was the period of Mycenaean Thrace, a term
introduced eleven years ago to designate the relative cultural unity of the
entire area which was also synchronous with Indo-Iranian Mycenaean
The death of Mycenaean Greece was the latest manifestation of the
disintegration of the ethnocultural communities on the territory of
Southern Europe because it meant the beginning of the differentiation of
the Hellenes proper.
Indo-Iranian "Mycenaean Thrace" did not perish and preserved the
basic typological characteristics of the behaviour of this ethnocultural
community also during the 1st millennium B.C. However, it is now
possible to introduce a more accurate term to designate the great age of
the stabilization phase of the associating elements of the cosmogony,
mythology and religion in the nucleus of the Thracian lands, while at the
same time delineating its differences from Mycenae. This term is Orphic
Thrace because it was precisely during the second half of the 2nd
THRACIANS AND MYCENAEANS: METHODOLOGY OF THE PARALLELISM 13
millennium B.C., during the brilliant period of the final phase of the
Bronze Age, that the Thracian, pre-Pythagorean, pre-literary and pre-
philosophical non-classicized Orphism was formed as a doctrine of the
religion of the Sun.
* * *
Such conclusions are imposed by the interdisciplinary researches into
the historical reality in South-Eastern Europe from the middle of the 2nd
millennium B.C. to the time after the Trojan War when the technology of
making iron weapons and tools began to spread and be mastered.
In my opinion, a few more remarks of a most general methodological
nature are needed for the better understanding of the starting points of
the idea about the admissible parallelism.
1. The historical memory of an ethnocultural community is formed by
the superposition of different layers. It is a mobile and developing system.
At the very moment when what has been achieved is lastingly codified,
creativity continues. This view will have a meaning if it is rendered
concrete in the mythology-epos relationship. Mythology is indeed codified
in the epos which, however, while performing its functions, acts upon'and
influences other spheres of culture.
2. In such case the contact and typological theories about the genesis
and evolution of the epos may be accepted with reservations, the most
promising working hypothesis being the genetic theory. Then the question
would arise about the possible localization of a particular ethnocultural
Indo-Iranian (Indo-European) community, in demonstrable coexistence
(contacts? typological similarity?) with other kindred and with the Semitic
community at that. Facing the vast problems of the possible interactions
and of the so-called "acceptance", it is necessary to specify as precisely as
possible the conditions in which this assumed process takes place.
3. Consequently, the problem arises of the centre of radiation, of the
different zones of intensity of the acceptance and the selective attitude. In
a separate line it will be necessary to introduce a concept for the
controllable acceptance not only and not so much as intentional cultural-
political action (measure), but rather from the viewpoint of the axiological
(value) system which each ethnocultural community elaborates for itself. Is
not this in fact the essence of the problem of interaction?
4. Interaction is a dynamic system in which "influence" and
"acceptance" are the simplified terms for its two aspects. When there are
two active principles, interaction is creative at all levels. At the same time,
interaction is not always synchronous, on the contrary, the asynchronous is
also always possible, above all in spiritual life. In all cases interaction
appears to be a historical process of bilateral choice, segmentation and
adaptation of elements and structures.
5. Then the evolutionary model of development is insufficient. It should
at least be combined with the spiral model and with the structural notion
of historical time. This method will require the elucidation of the
correlation between the concepts "simple" and "complex" as components
of historical existence. These concepts are structure-forming for a
particular system, they are synchronous and diachronic, both in their
tendency towards unification and division, and from the viewpoint of the
various historical and geographic zones with which trey are genetically
linked or to which they are transferred.
6. In view of the saltatory character of historical progress, it would not
be superfluous to accept the spiral model based on "complex-simple-
complex" for a definite period of time. However, in studying different
structures of material reality or of spiritual life, it is necessary — for the
sake of diachrony — to specify once again what rests at the start of the
spiral: the complex or the simple. Ascendant movement from simple to
complex may be seen immediately in the social structure, whereas
ascendant movement from complex to simple is witnessed in art and in
some spheres of culture.
7. In the sphere of culture where information and behaviour intersect,
the socio-psychological continuum will be discussed. In it the collision
between thesis and antithesis gives rise to synthesis, in this continuum is
projected the essence of human progress as a measure of historical
progress, i. e. in the release of the creative forces of the individual, micro-
group, group and society.
Culture, therefore, is historically active creative behaviour — the main
object of interdisciplinary research. The types of culture or the types of
behaviour can be compared. With any other starting idea any attempt at
parallelism is pointless.
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY*
D. F. EASTON
Schliemann's Excavations at Troy
In this paper I want to consider what can be done about the problem of
Schliemann. Troy lies only on the fringes of the Thracian and Mycenaean
worlds. But it is useful to both as a reference-point where the two realms
overlap in the context of a sequence which runs unbroken throughout
almost the entire Bronze Age. It is a great asset to the archaeologist —
potentially! I say 'potentially' because at Troy we are confronted by two
disabling problems. One is a lack of contact between the findings of
Schliemann, Dorpfeld and Blegen which means that today, 100 years after
Schliemann and 50 years after Blegen, we are still unable to say exactly
what building went with what and what objects belonged to what phase. I
shall say no more about this except to stress that a full synthesis is
The second problem is that of Schliemann. To state the obvious,
Schliemann's cardinal sins were speed and lack of technique. During
excavation he did not stop to record buildings as they were uncovered. He
simply drew plans of what was visible at the end of each season. We have
six such plans which provide us with only partial information on what he
found. Schmidt's catalogue' (on which the catalogue of the present
exhibition is necessarily based) 2 tells the tale of the objects. From 9704
entries, over 3000 concern objects which can only be loosely assigned to
somewhere within Troy II — V; and a further 3000 or more concern objects
which Schmidt felt unable to date at all. This represents a large body of
potentially useful material, all going to waste for lack of adequate
But Schliemann did develop a system of recording which enables us to
fill in some of the gaps. This applies to the architecture and stratigraphy as
* In the plans, black shading shows features exposed by Schliemann in 1870-73; stippled
shading indicates features exposed later.
1 H. Schmidt. Heinrich Schliemann's Sammlung Trojanischer Altertumer (Berlin, 1902).
•' Troje-Thracie: Archeologische schalten uil de DDR en Bulgarije, Museum Boymans-van
Hcuningen (Rotterdam, 1984).
D. F. EASTON
well as to the objects. His Troy excavation notebooks for 1870 — 73 and
1890 are preserved in the Gennadius Library at Athens, 3 and show how he
Normally he had several trenches operating at once. He himself
supervised one, and he appointed foremen to supervise the others. As
objects were found, they were marked with a pencilled figure to indicate
the depth (in metres) at which they had been found below the mound-
surface. Schliemann probably spent some of the time going round the
trenches, some of the time in his own trench, and some of the time in a
hut, keeping up his ever-enormous correspondence. But at the end of each
day he would usually write up a brief account of where he had dug and
what he had found. These accounts generally mention any major
architectural features and also give a list of objects. Drawings of the
objects accompany the daily entries, each drawing marked with the figure
which had been pencilled onto the object when it was found. Most of the
objects from 1870 — 73 were later published in the Atlas.*
Interspersed among the daily entries there are periodic resumes. These
are first drafts of the despatches which Schliemann sent off every two or
three weeks to German and Greek newspapers. In their published form
those from 1871 — 73 were later gathered together to form the book
Trojanische Alterthumer (Troy and Its Remains). 5 The first drafts were
usually written, or at least begun, when the workmen had a day off. Often
they give more detail about where Schliemann was digging — how far and
how deep into the mound he had reached, and what he planned to do
next. Sometimes they give added information about buildings or objects;
sometimes they recapitulate what was recorded in the daily entries;
sometimes they ignore it. Never do they carry any drawings.
These notebooks, when taken together with the letters and publications,
do then offer the possibility of something approaching a day-by-day
reconstruction of what Schliemann was doing at Troy in these years:
where he dug, and what he found, and at what depths.
There is, however, an initial difficulty. He describes the progress of his
work, and the locations of his finds, by reference to the mound-surface. A
wall may (for example) be 25 m in from the "north edge" and "8 m deep". This
sort of information is of little use without a contour-plan of the site as it
was before excavation. Fortunately we do have a variety of bits of
3 D. F. Easton, "The Schliemann Papers," Annual of the British School of Archaeology at
Athens T7 (1982) pp. 103-4.
4 H. Schliemann, Atlas Trojanischer Alterthumer (Leipzig, 1874); hereafter cited as Atlas.
5 H. Schliemann, Trojanische Alterthumer (Leipzig, 1874); English translation ed. Philip
Smith, transl. Dora Schmitz, Troy and Its Remains (London, 1875). The English translation is
neither felicitous nor reliable; caution should be exercised in its use.
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
18 D. F EASTON
information about the original mound-surface. There are some impression-
istic sketch-lines (not contours) in Laurent's plan of April 1872; 6 a number
of spot-heights from the plans drawn after the 1872 and 1873 seasons; 7 the
section-drawings in Ilios* the outlying contours and a few spot-heights
from Wolffs plan of 1883 (by which time the mound itself was, of course,
distorted by dumping); 9 a few more spot-heights from Troja und Ilion; 10 and
some helpful details from the American excavations which, in a number of
places, probed beneath Schliemann's dumps to the original mound-
surface." These spot-heights and contours are calculated from a variety of
datum-points (all unspecified before 1902). But fortunately the crucial
links can be found which permit all the figures to be adjusted to one
standard. Then, once some further difficulties over the precise orientations
of the plans are sorted out, it is possible to plot onto Dorpfeld's grid a
collection of crude information (see Fig. 1) — some lines and 80—90 spot-
heights — around which a contour-plan can be reconstructed. The
resulting plan (Fig. 2) shows a series of tentative contour-lines marking the
height of the original mound-surface in metres above tide — the
standard eventually adopted by Dorpfeld and taken over by Blegen. 12
The plan is bound to be a bit inaccurate here and there. But the general
configuration is confirmed by the accounts of Charles Maclaren who
visited the site in 1847, 13 and of Schliemann on his early visits of 1868 and
1870." Also the reconstruction does fit very snugly over all the highest
bench-marks in Dorpfeld's plan of the buildings. 15 Remarkably, the spot-
heights demand that we reconstruct a depression in squares GH 3—4. Its
size, 34x23 m, corresponds exactly to that of a depression recorded in this
6 Atlas Taf. 116, reproduced in a modified form in W. Dorpfeld, Troja und llion (Athens, 1902)
7 AtlasTuf. 117, 214, reproduced respectively in Troja und Ilion pp. 5,7; Taf. 214 also appears
in Troy and Its Remains Plan 2. In both reproductions of Taf. 214 some of the indistinct spot-
heights seem to have been mis-read.
8 H. Schliemann, Ilios: the City and Country of the Trojans (London, 1881), Plans III, IV.
' H. Schliemann, Troja: Results of the latest researches and discoveries on the site of Homer's
Troy, 1882 (London, 1884), Plan III; also Troja und Ilion Taf. II.
10 W. Dorpfeld, Troja und Ilion Taf. II, III.
" C. W. Blegen, C. G. Boulter, J. L. Caskey, M. Rawson, J. Sperling, Troy: Excavations
Conducted by the University of Cincinnati, 1932-38, 4 vols. (Princeton, 1950-58) (hereafter
cited as Troy), I, figs. 423, 470; III pp. 107-9, 349, figs. 83, 447, 449, 497, 498, 501, 502; IV
pp. 133, 283, 305, 333, figs. 323-6, 354, 359, 375, 378.
12 Troy I p. 20.
13 Charles Maclaren, The Plain of Troy Described (Edinburgh, 1863) pp. 70 ff.
M H. Schliemann, Ithaka, der Peloponnes und Troja (Leipzig, 1869) p. 164f ; unpublished Troy
excavation notebook for 1870 pp. 66, 88, 135.
15 Troja und Ilion Taf. III.
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
D. F. EASTON
area by Frank Calvert 16 and by Schliemann; 17 and it exactly overlies the
Athena Temple, which Dorpfeld saw to have been robbed out before
excavations ever began." So I believe that the contour-plan can be used
with moderate confidence so long as it is kept at a fairly small scale. And
I think it puts in our hands the key that can unlock Schliemann's
excavation records. Let me give one example of how this can work.
Take the period 19th June- 13th July 1872." At this time Schliemann
was digging, among other places, on the southwest side of the mound
(Fig. 3). The final state of the trench, not yet reached, can be seen in two
Fig. 3. The location of work in squares CDE 7-8, 19th June- 13th July 1872
" E. Meyer, cd.,Heinrich Schliemann — Briefwechsel 2 vols. (Berlin, 1953, 1958)vol. Ip. 198.
17 Trojanische Alterthumer p. 99; E. Meyer, ed., Britfe von Heinrich Schliemann (Berlin/
Leipzig, 1936) p. 120.
18 Troja und Won p. 217.
" Documented in Trojanische Alterthumer ch. id, and in the unpublished Troy excavation
notebook for 1872 (hereafter Tagebuch 1872) pp. 414-457.
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY 21
plans in the Atlas.™ These give us the width of the trench — 23 m; for
Schliemann was digging gradually northwards. But how far North had he
got on the dates in question? We know that he had already created a
horizontal terrace at 31 m above tide by digging 7 m northwards from the
top of the Troy VI citadel wall. 21 This gives us his starting-point. We are
also told that by 19th July — a week after the end of our period — the
trench had a total North-South length of 50 m. 22 From this we can estimate
that during our period the trench was advanced a further 20 m or so into
the mound. So we have the limits on all four sides. From the contour-plan
we have, in addition, the upper limit of the trench — the lie of the
mound-surface. What about the floor of the trench? This is more difficult.
There is evidence that on the west and east sides Schliemann dug down
only to a shallow, horizontal level: roughly 34.15 m on the west side and
34.74 m on the east. The remnants of these two terraces can be seen in
the Atlas plans. 23 But in the centre of the trench Schliemann was making a
deeper cut which sloped down to the North. He tells us that his object was
to reach bedrock at a point immediately below the summit. 24 Now
Schliemann believed, for various reasons, that bedrock lay at 18 m below
the summit. From the contour-plan we now know where the summit was
and what altitude it had (39.67 m — not known before). So we can work
out the point at which Schliemann was aiming, and what the slope of his
trench should have been — in theory. In fact the trench never reached its
object, because at a date after our period it came up against the Troy II
fortification-walls (Schliemann's "Tower"), just South of which it attained
a depth of 11 m. 25 (I am here disregarding a small additional sounding
which went down to 13 m). That depth of 11 m was calculated down not
from the summit, but from the mound-surface at that point, which the
contour-plan shows to have been 38 m A.T. So at this point the bottom of
the trench lay at about 27 m A.T. Going back to our starting-point, a
horizontal terrace at 31 m, dug 7 m in from the Troy VI wall, we get a
drop in the trench-bottom of 4 m over a length of 30 m. The incline
agrees with the one Schliemann must have planned. If we now take the
northern limit which we have estimated for the trench in the dates we are
looking at, we can calculate that by 13th July the north end of the deep
cut should have gone down to about 28.50 m A.T. We have to add in one
20 Atlas Taf. 117, 214.
21 Tagebuch 1872 p. 378; Troja und Ilion p. 122 fig. 39; Troy III p. 166 and fig. 511.
22 Briefwechsel I p. 212.
23 Atlas Taf. 117, 214.
24 Tagebuch 1872 pp. 336, 425; cf. Trojanische Alterthumer p. 82.
25 Tagebuch 1872 p. 446; cf. Atlas Taf. 117, section.
22 D. F. EASTON
final detail: that, as he tells us, Schliemann was all this time trying to keep
his trench-face at an angle of 50° so as to avoid collapse. 26 And so we have
a complete picture of the shape and extent and depth of the area dug in
our specified period. We can now go on to place the features and objects
which were found in it. First, what direct information does Schliemann
give us about the architecture and stratigraphy?
Plate 214 in the Atlas shows a 6 m length of wall in the northeast corner
of the eastern terrace — a wall described as a "Great Hellenic
Construction." The altitudes of the wall are unknown, but are limited by
the mound-surface and the level of the terrace to between 34.74 m and
37.10 m. It may be a continuation of a Troy VII wall shown by Dorpfeld
lying just to the South. The same Atlas plate shows an L-shaped wall at
the edge of the west terrace, described as a "bastion of Lysimachus." This
is actually the southeast corner of Building VI M. A well, too, is shown
on the plan but not recorded in the notebooks. But there are a number of
features recorded in the notebooks which do not appear in the plan or
any of the publications. First, the discovery on 27th June 27 of a "mass of
stones" at a depth of 7 1/2 m — that is (using the contour-plan) at 30.50 m
A.T. Then above this were deposits of red and yellow ashes in which
Schliemann was able to recognise some mudbrick walls and burnt mussel-
shells. 28 Above these again lay another wall built of irregular masonry
bonded together with white mortar. 29 Schliemann gives us no depths for
any of these overlying deposits. But the position and depth of the "mass
of stones" suggest immediately that it might be a continuation of the
possible Troy IV fortification-wall noted by Blegen further East, in square
F8. 30 These points constitute the only direct information given us on the
stratigraphy and architecture of the area in question; and they derive from
the publications and the unpublished notebooks in more or less equal
But for this period, as usual, the notebooks also record a large number
of objects, and their depths. From the contour-plan we already know the
line of the mound-surface; and we have been able to calculate the slope of
the trench floor. We know, too, that Schliemann was trying to keep his
trench-face at an angle of 50°. Now there are several days when
Schliemann records the depth he had reached: this tells us how far, on
these days, he had penetrated into the mound. From the objects found on
26 Trojanische Alterthiimer p. 46; Tagebuch 1872 p. 360.
27 Tagebuch 1872 p. 425.
28 Ibid. pp. 425-6.
» Ibid. p. 426.
30 Troy II p. 139 and fig. 309 nos. 3-4.
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
these days we can select a number of diagnostic pieces, and plot them
onto a rudimentary section (Fig. 4) by date of discovery and by depth.
They are shown in Fig. 4 by crosses and serial-numbers. Into the section
we can also bring some additional information extrapolated from an
immediately neighbouring area later dug by Dorpfeld: a number of spot-
i ' i • i
i ' i ' i
I ' I ' I
^55v [vtr\ —
■£* — A»«TOT
\ viu-ix **
\ v I v ' % '
"\ vi 1 ,
\ \ X
Fig. 4. Raw data for reconstructing a section in squares CDE 7-8
heights for the tops and bottoms of some buildings dated to Troy VI and
VII. 31 These are shown by triangles on the section. Taking all these factors
together, we can then sketch in some lines to indicate how the deposits of
the various periods may have been stratified (see Fig. 5). This in turn
i • i ■ i
i ' i ' i ' i ' i
i ' i
Fig. 5. Reconstructed section in squares CDE 7-8
"1 Troja und Ilion Taf. III.
D. F. EASTON
allows us to go back to the remaining 252 objects which seem to have
been found here, assess their findspot by depth and date of discovery, and
assign them provisionally to a dated deposit. We can also date some of the
architecture. The large mass of stones seems likely to have been overlain
by a deposit of Troy IV material which, as Schliemann talks of red and
yellow ashes, may be a destruction-deposit. So its initial identification as a
Troy IV fortification-wall looks as if it is confirmed.
I cite all this as an example of the sort of method that can be applied to
Schliemann's notebooks, and of the sort of information that can be
wrested from them. Each area has its individual problems and possibilities,
depending on the quality of Schliemann's recording, the nature of the
stratification, and what help is now available from later excavations. There
is no one technique that can be applied without variation. One has to be
flexible and pragmatic. The job is essentially one of textual criticism
through archaeological spectacles.
There are some sources of error which, of course, affect the weight
which can be placed on a reconstruction of this sort. There is a point
beyond which one cannot compensate for Schliemann's lack of experience.
Fine stratigraphy is out of the question; pits may have been missed; some
of the pencilled figures on the objects could be misread (6 for 9, 4 for 7,
and so on). The information is crude and the results will be crude.
Nevertheless, I think much more can be extracted from the notes than was
extracted by Schliemann. The most serious problem is a technical one —
the difficulty of deciding which object came from which trench; for
Schliemann was usually digging in more than one area at once. In some
cases he is explicit. In others the date of discovery, or the depth of the
findspot, or the date of manufacture may help. Sometimes an object
seems to be drawn as one of a group in which the attribution of some of
the other pieces is certain. Sometimes Schliemann is patently more
interested in one area than another. Sometimes no attribution can be
made at all. It is constantly necessary to decide which objects can be
attributed to which trenches, and with what degree of certainty. Each case
has to be taken on its merits — and there are thousands of objects
involved. Any serious mis-allocations could affect the way a stratigraphy is
reconstructed and how other objects and buildings are dated, and it is only
right to acknowledge that interpretation necessarily plays an important
role at this stage. I should perhaps add that I do not believe that
falsification is a serious issue in Schliemann's archaeology. It may be in
other areas of his life. But my experience is that, whenever his
archaeological records can be checked against the later work on the site,
they turn out to be remarkably reliable. There are some confusions and
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY 25
re-interpretations in his published reports. But the unpublished notebooks
provide a reliable control and are, I think, quite trustworthy. 32
A survey of how this study will affect the pottery-sequence would, I am
afraid, be premature at the moment. More work remains to be done, and
a full integration with the results of the later excavators needs to be
attempted before anything definitive can be said. But I should like now to
outline some of the architectural gains. I am afraid that these will have to
be rather briefly presented, without much evidence or discussion; but I
hope the example I have discussed, from June— July 1872, will give some
idea of how these results have been arrived at.
During 1870-73 — years for which his notebooks are available —
Schliemann never touched the earliest deposits of Troy I. But there is a
little additional information on Middle Troy I (Fig. 6). In squares D3-4
more evidence was found, on several occasions, of a pavement at c. 27 m
A.T. It coincides with the upper surface of a 10 m stretch of rubble
packing noted by Blegen in the east scarp of the North-South trench. 33 The
north face of this packing was formed by a retaining-wall — Dorpfeld's
wall "m" — of which there is now a further extension going 12 m
eastwards. It is curious that on the south side of the site, in square D5,
Dorpfeld and Blegen found a similar packing of stones, nearly 12 m wide,
behind Wall IW, but this time based at 27 m. M If there is any connection
between the two, one might reconstruct an elliptical, four-towered
platform, flat on the North side but rising to a defensive rampart on the
south side. But this is hypothetical. Of Late Troy I (Fig. 7) there is again
very little. But in his North Platform Schliemann did find a 20 m stretch of
what is, I think, likely to have been the northern sector of a circuit-wall of
Late Troy I. On the south side of the site, in square D5, Wall 96 ( — and
the numbering is mine) is clearly an extension of Dorpfeld's wall "c" of
Troy I — a wall which seems jp overlie the rubble packing assigned to
Middle Troy I. 35
In Early Troy II (Fig. 8) the west wall of Gate FN was exposed but not
identified. In square F3 there was a green-stained drain and a part of a
house with stone threshhold and stone socles: there is no plan of the
32 cf. D. F. Easton, "Schliemann's mendacity — a false trail?", Antiquity 58 (1984)
pp. 197-204; also "Priam's Treasure," Anatolian Studies 34 (1984) pp. 141 — 169. For a
contrary view see D. A. Traill, "Schliemann's 'discovery' of Priam's Treasure", Antiquity 57
(1983) pp. 181-6; "Schliemann's Discovery of 'Priam's Treasure': A Re-examination of the
Evidence," JHS 104 (1984) pp. 96-115; "Further Evidence of Fraudulent Reporting in
Schliemann's Archaeological Works," Boreas 7 (1984) pp. 295—316.
" Troy I p. 163, fig. 422.
54 Troja und llion Taf. VIII; Troy I p. 146, fig. 205.
35 Troja und llion Taf. VIII.
D. F. EASTON
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
D. F. EASTON
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
feature, but it is almost certainly the east end of a building later found by
Blegen and assigned by him to Troy Ha. 36 At the west end of the North
Platform Schliemann encountered what can only be an additional 20 m
stretch of Blegen's Wall IZ: the sloping face of stones and clay mortar
found at several points around the North (and South) sides of the site. 37
There is little doubt about its identity. What I do very much doubt is the
attribution to Troy I. The reason is that immediately behind this feature
— Wall 14 — Schliemann found another massive wall — Wall 15 — which
seems to tie up at both ends with Dorpfeld's Troy II citadel wall (although
in the middle it lies about 10 m South of Dorpfeld's suggested line for it).
So far as can be seen, Wall 14 and Wall IZ follow its course all the way.
And in square F3 Blegen actually found a piece of what may be the
upper, Troy II, wall founded directly over IZ. 38 To me this suggests that
on the north side of the site IZ was not a circuit- wall in its own right, but
a stone-faced glacis encasing the slope of the hill and leading up to the
fort of the citadel wall. It should be dated to Troy II and may have
survived into Troy III — no doubt with renewals of the superstructure.
In Middle Troy II (Fig. 9), in addition to Gate FM and the sections of
the circuit-wall, Schliemann found a massive mudbrick structure over Gate
FN, by now probably blocked. It was 8 m wide and preserved to 3 m
high. It may have been a part of the superstructure of the fortification-
system, preserved into Troy HI (hence the unusual height). Or it may
have been related to the large mudbrick structure of which Dorpfeld
found remnants in IIM and UN. 39 That feature, however, did not survive
intact beyond Middle Troy II.* Much of Megaron IIA was recovered and
recorded: the east wall, the west wall, and the north wall: and the building
may have been about 2 1/2 m longer than Dorpfeld supposed. A piece of
walling some metres to the East, overlying Wall "m", may be the
northeast end of Megaron IIB.
To Late Troy II (Fig. 10), shown by Mellaart to include many of the
walls shown in Burnoufs plan in Ilios, 41 must be assigned the horned altar
found in April 1873. 42 It belongs to the complex on the right of Gate FO,
in the superstructure, and may indicate the presence of a gatehouse shrine
similar to the later Vli, 43 and recalling the stelae outside the gate of Troy I. 44
36 Troy I p. 251 f, figs. 277-8, 417, 432, 434.
37 Troy I pp. 188-9, 194-6, figs. 206, 209, 212, 437.
38 Troy I p. 196.
39 Troja und Ilion pp. 77-8, Taf. III.
40 Troy I, p. 302.
* J. Mellaart, "Notes on the architectural remains of Troy I and II," Anatolian Studies 9
(1959) pp. 149-54.
42 Trojanische Alterthumer ch. XX, pp. 244-5.
43 Troy III, p. 99, figs. 55, 452.
D. F. EASTON
SCHLIEMANNS EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
D. F. EASTON
Some complexes, here labelled Buildings 3 and S, belong in one or
other of the phases of Late Troy II. A notable addition is Wall 83 in
squares B5-6: a substantial wall with projecting battlement, preserved to
32 m A.T., backed by a pavement, and lying 10 m further to the
Southwest than the circuit-wall of Middle Troy II. There is no drawing of
the wall, but it may be related to the circuit wall with battlements on the
southeast side: a feature of Late Troy II and possibly Troy III. 45
Troy HI (Fig. 11) seems to have continued the pattern established in
Late Troy II. To various of its phases, all now uncertain, we should
probably assign a motley collection of walls on the North Platform, and
Buildings 2 and 4.
Of Troy TV and V (Fig. 12) practically nothing new can be said. This is
chiefly because much of Troy IV and most of Troy V may have been
removed — not by Schliemann, but by the builders of Troy VI. Stray finds
from Troy VI, and the foundations of Troy VI buildings, are frequently
found among the Troy IV deposits in the centre of the site. Schliemann
has, I think, been made to carry too much of the blame for the
disappearance of Troy IV and V.
I have already mentioned the fortification-wall of Troy IV. Blegen
identified its possible course in soundings in squares F8 and HJ6— 7.** To
this can now be added the section in square D6, and another in square
H7: a massive structure 3 1/2 m tall, probably related to a 6 m wide
feature exposed by Blegen when he scraped down the east side of
Schliemann's southeast trench.
Troy VI (Fig. 13) is rather more rewarding although, of course, some of
its central buildings were probably disturbed in the Hellenistic and Roman
On the west side of the site, the north end of Megaron VIB can be
drawn in with certainty, appearing in various Atlas plates as a "Hellenic
Tower." The walls were re-used as foundations for another structure in
Troy VII. Further South, the east wall of VIM can be completed, though
it was not really in doubt. For the record, Dorpfeld was wrong in
believing that Schliemann failed to record the Troy VI citadel wall in his
south trench 47 — he found and recorded it early in May 1872. Building
VIG can be virtually completed; a section of wall in square G7 (Wall 42)
may be the southwest wall of another of Ddrpfeld's buildings; and Wall 28
seems to be an additional part of Building VID in the northeast.
" Troy I pp. 155-8.
45 Troja und llion pp. 74-6.
* Troy II pp. 139, 167, figs. 309, 312, 314.
47 Troja und llion pp. 5-6.
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
D. F. EASTON
SCHLIEMANN'S EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
36 D. F. EASTON
A number of features indicate the presence of other buildings not
previousty noted, although in no case can a plan be reconstructed with
certainty. The buildings, or bits of them, can be seen on the plan and I do
not want to discuss them in detail.
The most striking addition to Troy VI is the recovery of a very large
part of the northern circuit-wall. A small segment was, of course,
identified by the American excavators in squares FG3. 48 A further segment
may have been found by Schliemann in 1870 when he found a deposit of
immense stones at c. 31 m A.T. in the west end of his northwest trench. 49
A similar deposit was found nearby by Blegen in 1933 and 1935, and
seemed to be associated with a stratum containing Troy VI pottery. 50 But
Blegen wrongly thought it was a part of Schliemann's "Hellenic Tower".
A more certain stretch was found in the western and central parts of the
North Platform of 1872: it was 6 m high, preserved up to c. 34.67 m A.T.
Further east it was robbed out in Troy IX. Its precise course and plan was
not recorded, but its approximate line is fairly certain. Further east again,
in Schliemann's northeast trench, is a remarkable example of what
Schliemann could see when he took the time and trouble. On 22nd June
1872 he recorded a series of alternating deposits of brown soil and white
marble chippings, the former 20-30 cm thick, the latter 5-10 cm thick,
lying at 21/2-4 m below the surface. It is clear where Schliemann
saw this — very close to the Troy IX enclosure wall, overlain by sloping
deposits of Troy VI— IX on the north side, and underlain by mudbrick
debris of Troy V. There is no doubt what these alternating strata are: they
are the fill of the original footing-trench of a Troy VI wall. Comparable
examples were found by the Americans." In this case the position and
altitude tie up almost perfectly with the known segments of the northern
circuit- wall — and I think this is what the feature derives from. The
masonry was removed in Troy IX, but the footing-trench remained.
There is not a great deal to be added to Troy VII and VIII, so I will go
straight on to Troy IX (Fig. 14). The Athena Temple had already been
robbed out almost entirely — although Schliemann did find a few
sandstone blocks from its foundations. He also repeatedly mentions thick
deposits of sand in this area. Dorpfeld was later able to show that these
were the packing in the Temple's deep foundation-trench. 52 Three new
features may be noted. First, a small addition to the southwest corner of the
48 Troy III pp. 108f, 158; figs. 84-6, 447, 501.
* Tagebuch 1870 p. 90; Briefwechsel I p. 167.
50 Troy IV p. 133.
51 Troy III pp. 149f, 156, 167f, 245, 247, 249, 326f, 364 and figs. 468-70, 488, 492-3, 496,
52 Troja und Ilion p. 217f.
SCHLIEMANNS EXCAVATIONS AT TROY
38 D F. EASTON
Stoa — noted, but not recorded in detail. Second, a cross-wall and some
adjacent northeast buildings, which have to be added on to Dorpfeld's
Building IXA. These were found and clearly recorded in 1870. Third, a large
rectangular building measuring approximately 18mxl31/4m, on the
summit. Its size, position, and orientation are certain. What is not clear is
whether or not it was free-standing: in 1870 Schliemann cleared out only
its interior; in 1871 he demolished it. Apparently stratified below it was a
coin datable to the 2nd— 3rd centuries A.D. 53 — but a coin can easily be
This, then, is an outline of some of the architectural evidence which can be
rescued from Schliemann's notebooks. A large proportion of the pottery,
metal work and other objects can be placed and stratified in a similar way, and
may in the end produce a refined — and certainly an amplified — sequence.
What then remains is for the whole lot to be tied together with Dorpfeld's and
Blegen's findings, so that we have something approaching a definitive
sequence for the whole site.
S3 Briefwecksel I p. 164.
POSSIBLE NORTHERN INTRUSIONS
In this title I am of course referring to the pottery type known at Mycenae
as Handmade Burnished Ware (abbreviated in all notes to HMB) and
more recently described disparagingly by Catling (1981) as Barbarian
ware. I think it is important for any discussion of this material to see it in
the context of its identification and then to discuss its position at Mycenae
in three ways: first amid the pottery as it is normally sorted, secondly in
its chronological position as we know it at the present moment, and
thirdly from the evidence that can now be advanced from the first
scientific analyses of sherds of this ware from Mycenae.
Handmade burnished ware is made from a relatively finely washed clay
without obvious inclusions. The walls of the vessels are quite thick (ca.
0.005-0.008 m) and the available surfaces are highly burnished. The
firing is such that the core remains a dark black and the surface is dark
brown, often mottled. The most common shapes are a deep hole-mouth
bowl which usually has a decorative band below the lip (Fig. 1) and often
has lug handles (Fig. 2) and a small jar/jug (Fig. 3). Some larger jars are
known but the firing method seems less successful at this size and they are
in poor condition and difficult to restore (Fig. 4).
Outline of Discovery
These circumstances have already been briefly described (French & Rutter
1977) but it seems worthwhile recapitulating them here in greater detail.
We therefore start 20 years ago in the summer of 1964. The Helleno-
British excavation team under Lord William Taylour was engaged on the
* I thank Dr. K. A. Wardle for reading the original version of this paper at the
Conference and for giving me the information on the material from NW Greece quoted
above. In revising this paper for publication I used the original typescript of Bankoff and
Winter 1984. Much of what I have said has been rendered unnecessary by their succinct and
cogent published article. I have not been able to use Dr A. F. Harding, "The Mycenaeans
and Europe" Academic Press 1984.
1. Mycenae 64-455,
Fig. 2. Mycenae 64-456, C>
<* Fig. 3. Mycenae
POSSIBLE NORTHERN INTRUSIONS AT MYCENAE
Fig. 4. Mycenae 68-423, Large jar
completion of the work on the area within the Citadel at Mycenae known
as the Citadel House — work which had been started by Alan Wace in
1953 & 1954 but which had been unfinished at his death in 1957. The site
is a roughly rectangular area some 30m E-W and approximately the same
length N-S. Because of the position against the Citadel Wall it had been
necessary, in order to remove the soil from the area, to start work on the
East side and work gradually westwards. The start of the 1964 season saw
new trenches laid out against the Citadel Wall at the West which were
numbered Gamma 31, 32, and 33. The upper levels here consisted of wash
from higher up the slope, held up by the Citadel Wall itself. Beneath the
Hellenistic and other post-Mycenaean levels we can now see that there
was a deep deposit of similar wash belonging to the LH HIC period,
without (in general) any structures, but clearly stratified. The overall
situation shows in the section across the Western part of the site at this
point (Fig. 5).
This situation was not that anticipated by the excavators. In work both
to the East and to the North immediately below the Hellenistic buildings
there had been the clear remains of building levels of the LH IIIB period,
characterized by very hard burnt mud brick debris, with only slight traces
of LH IIIC re-occupation. Unfortunately in the absence of structures the
wash levels were not given the attention they now prove to have deserved.
U J= -™-C
X a. S>o- j cu
POSSIBLE NORTHERN INTRUSIONS AT MYCENAE 43
In any case the finds from the 1964 season were given only preliminary
study on site during the actual excavation as work was preceding 'full out'
in the hope that the whole excavation could be completed that year.
Thus it was that the HMB ware was not in fact specifically identified
until 1965 when detailed study of the material from the previous season
was undertaken. Moreover some of the original evidence had been lost as
the ware had mistakenly been identified as of Middle Helladic date. This
was mainly because at this time an assortment of new wares of MBA date
was being identified as the result of the excavations at Lerna and a
handmade ware with obvious burnishing seemed to suit this horizon better
than any other. It later became clear that this ware occurred mainly with
wares of LH IIIC date and in units that had no canonical MH 'throw-ups'.
We now know that there is somewhat similar material in late MH but not
in the same shapes.
The first major pieces of the ware were identified fairly early in the
study season of 1965 and made us realize that this was not a Middle
Bronze Age ware for large jars as had been supposed. The shape was
unique (after Early Neolithic, e. g. the finds from Nemea, Blegen 1975
"Deep Bowl") and the method of decoration parallelled only in Early
Helladic (e. g. Weisshaar 1983, Abb. 7 from Tiryns). Figures 1 and 2 were
the first two profile pieces of the ware to be registered in the Mycenae
inventory. By good fortune I met Mervyn Popham in Athens at this time
and he showed me photographs of his group from Lefkandi (Popham and
Sackett 1968, fig. 34). It was immediately obvious that we were dealing
with the same phenomenon though on a very different scale.
From this point on we have done our best to trace the presence of this
ware at Mycenae and thence to other sites in Greece. It has become
obvious that it is a widespread phenomenon though always (except
possibly at Aigeira, Deger-Jalkotzy 1977) one that occurs with other
material. At Mycenae (and at Tiryns) the ' chronological background is
clear though the social one is still very uncertain.
Position in the Mycenae Pottery Repertoire
In the thirteenth century BC, the period from which we have the most
evidence at Mycenae, the basic pottery repertoire is extremely
standardised. First we must discount some 5% of the total which consists
of sherds of earlier periods thrown up into later layers. There are then
three main groups to be considered:
1. Coarse wares in a red clay of special character constitute some 13%
of the total by count.
44 ELIZABETH FRENCH
2. Unpainted wares in a buff or pink clay, which may have grit or grog
added to enable larger pots to be made, constitute another 66% of the
3. The final 16% are painted wares which divide into:
3% monochrome, i. e. vessels completely covered with paint in a
single colour, usually fired red or brown
8% linear, i. e. vessels with only linear decoration (at least on the
5% patterned, the most usually illustrated type of Mycenaean
Figures 6-10 give examples of the basic types, all from early LH IIIC
levels at Mycenae. It will be quite obvious to all how alien to these types
the HMB material is. Moreover neither the end of LH MB nor the first
century of LH IIIC is a period of such disruption that the hypothesis put
forward by Sandars (1978, 192) is tenable. Unfortunately her book was
written before the full impact of the evidence for great prosperity in LH
IIIC from Tiryns and from the Cyclades became apparent.
Chronological Position at Mycenae
At first it appeared that this type of pottery was found only in the levels
of the LH IIIC period (French 1969). After further careful study of the
stratigraphy and the pottery linked to it a more complex history of the site
has emerged and the stratigraphic position of the first appearance of the
ware has become clear.
The history of this area of the site at Mycenae has been briefly
summarized in Taylour 1981, 7—13. It is now quite clear that the first
occurrence of HMB is in phase VIII, the period between the possible
earthquake and the vast destruction by burning. After the earthquake
when much damage was done to the contents of all the buildings in the
Northern part of the Cult Centre there was a phase of 'cleaning up' in
which the broken materials were collected, stored away and sealed off.
Sherds of HMB are first found in the fill of the Room with the Fresco
(Rm 31) and the whole vessel (Fig. 3) comes from a similar context in the
refacings of the ramps leading to the Megaron (Rm II) and the Shrine of
Tsountas House. The ware is then common for the rest of LH MB and in
the early part of LH IIIC (Sherratt, forthcoming), in absolute dates
between 1225 and 1150 BC.
It should be noted that the end of phase VII is marked by the find of
the winged axe mould from the House of the Oil Merchant (Stubbings
POSSIBLE NORTHERN INTRUSIONS AT MYCENAE
Fig. 6. Mycenae 64-457, Tripod cooking pot in Coarse Ware
Fig. 7. Mycenae 64-517, Mug in Unpainted Ware
Fig. 8. Mycenae 64—430, Stemmed bow] in Monochrome
Fig. 9. Mycenae 64-450, Jug in Linear Painted Ware
POSSIBLE NORTHERN INTRUSIONS AT MYCENAE
Fig. 10. Mycenae 64—449, Krater in Patterned Ware
1954, 297-8) and of the mounts for a type II sword (Wardle,
forthcoming) which would be contemporary with the Kos example
(Morricone 1965, 136-142 and Mee 1982, 88-9).
Origin or Source of Inspiration
The alien nature of this ware has, of course, caused unending speculation
as to its origin. On a scientific basis sherds have been examined in two
distinct programmes. In each typical sherds were carefully chosen by me
for the work.
First they have been examined through thin sections of their petrological
composition in a study undertaken by Dr John Riley, formerly from the
University of Southampton. Only a small proportion of the wide-ranging
sample taken for this type of analysis has as yet been examined but a
sample from the jar illustrated in Fig. 3 contained tufaceous and
sedimentary rocks with abundant quarz. Of similar composition are two
pieces from larger vessels of painted wares from the Atreus Bothros
deposit (LH IIIA1/1375BC in date, French 1964) and an inscribed Stirrup
Jar sherd (50-580) which has been considered to be local by OES
analysis (Catling et al. 1980, no. 51).
Two sherds have also been tested by Neutron Activation Analysis at
Manchester as part of a wider programme for the detailed analysis of the
various wares found on sites in the NE Peloponnese in the LH IIIB
period. Both sherds cluster with the buff wares, both painted and
unpainted, of the NE Peloponnese. This is true in two separate methods
of sorting the results, the first using NE Peloponnesian wares only and the
second using fine wares both from the NE Peloponnese and from Knossos.
As the results of testing by two separate and totally distinct methods
show the sherds of HMB (although only a very small sample in number)
to be local, it would seem that a source must be found not for the actual
pots but for the idea of this type of ware. It is not the pots themselves that
are imported but the technique or type.
In an attempt to localize possible sources, various collections have been
visited and various scholars have examined the Mycenae examples. My
own first suggestion was a link to Troy (i. e. to the Coarse Ware of Troy
VIIB1, Blegen et al. 1958, 158f and figs. 284-6). I therefore examined the
Troy collections in Istanbul thanks to the kindness of the Eski Eserler ve
Muzeler Genel Mudurlugu and the then Director of the Instanbul
Arkeoloji Muzeleri, Dr Necati Dolunay. Furthermore Professor J. L.
Caskey who excavated the VIIB1 levels at Troy examined the Mycenae
examples and was happy to accept them as similar to the material from
those levels at Troy. It must be emphasized that this 'Coarse Ware' is new
in Troy VIIB1 and itself must have come from elsewhere, possibly the
North. Certainly the shapes listed by Blegen compare very closely with the
ever increasing repertoire of material in Greece.
Meanwhile Dr F. A. Winter who, with Dr H. A. Bankoff, has been
working in the Morava valley (particularly at Novacka Cuprija) (Bankoff
and Winter 1982 and 1984) has also handled this Mycenae material and is
happy to accept similarities with material they have found. The material
from Tiryns (which both Dr Wardle and I have handled) is absolutely
identical to that from Mycenae and seems to appear in a related stratum.
The material and its possible origins in Northwest Greece have been
discussed in detail by Dr Kilian (1978, 1981).
The difficulties of this last suggestion are summarized by Dr Wardle:
"Handmade pottery is typical of sites in Northern Greece until well into
the Iron Age but there are many differences which seem to preclude any
area as the immediate origin of HMB as found in the Argolid and
elsewhere. In Macedonia and Thessaly, as is well known, there is a very
distinctive repertoire of shapes in a well prepared and well fired buff to
brown fabric which has no resemblance whatever.
POSSIBLE NORTHERN INTRUSIONS AT MYCENAE
Epirus has often been suggested as a possible source and indeed rather
crudely prepared and fired pottery has been found in this area since the
excavations of Carapanos and Evangelides at Dodona (Evangelides 1935;
Wardle 1977, 176ff). This probably dates from the end of the Middle
Bronze Age to the end of the Late Bronze Age but there is no
stratification and imports of Mycenaean pottery are rare and only from
LH IIIB. The pottery is, however, very rarely burnished at all and the
surface is usually rough and porous. The range of simple shapes is hardly
diagnostic enough to enable parallels to be drawn. Smaller vessels in
rather better fabric have been found in cist tombs such as those at
Elaphotopos and Mazaraki (Vokotopoulou 1969) but the shapes are not
those found in HMB. The closest point of comparison is the use in Epirus
of crude pellets of clay as decoration on almost every kind of vase, but
especially the larger cooking vessels. The use of pellets in this manner has
also been observed at Tiryns but only as a tiny proportion of the ware as a
whole. Although there are generic resemblances between the pottery of
Epirus and HMB these are not close enough to link the two areas."
The main rival to a Northern source is Italy. The first scholars to
examine the Lefkandi pot identified it as of Italian origin and Italian
experts maintain that this ware originates in South Italy. I have been
attempting to follow up this line of inquiry but have not been able to see
any actual material of the type suggested at first hand.
It is, however, now clear that a handmade ware identified in Crete at
Chania (Hallager 1983) and at Kommos (Watrous 1984) is not the same as
that known on the mainland (or at least as that known in the Argolid).
That recently identified in Cyprus (Karageorghis, personal communica-
tion) does appear to relate and we await with great interest its analysis by
OES in the Fitch Laboratory in Athens. Other possible identifications in
the last year include a jar from Kea (Overbeck, personal communication)
and what may be related material at Sardis and Gordion (personal
communication from Dr A. Ramage and from Dr K. de Vries, but see
also Bankoff and Winter 1984, n. 18).
Much has been written recently about this pottery and its significance and
this detailed account of its archaeological position at Mycenae has been
presented to clarify the background to it. The material itself, which has
formed part of Dr Susan Sherratt's doctoral thesis, will be published by
her in the series Well Built Mycenae. In additon it must be noted that the
last 20 years have seen great changes in our assessment of the transitional
LH IIIB/C and early LH HIC periods particularly through the excavations
50 ELIZABETH FRENCH
at Tiryns and in the Cyclades (Barber and MacGillivray 1985). How much,
if any, of the special character of these periods can be assigned to
Northerners is an interesting and intriguing question.
Bankoff, H. A. and Winter, F. A.
1982 "The Morava Valley Project in Yugoslavia: Preliminary Report, 1977-1980" Journal
of Field Archaeology, vol. 9, no. 2, 149-164.
1984 "Northern Intruders in LH IIIC Greece: a view from the North" Journal of Indo-
European Studies 12 : 1-2, 1-30.
Barber, R. and MacGillivray, A.
1984 The Prehistoric Cyclades, Edinburgh.
1975 "Neolithic Remains at Nemea" Hesperia 44, 251-279.
Blegen, C.W. et al.
1958 Troy IV, Princeton.
Catling, H. W. and E. A.
1981 "'Barbarian' Pottery from the Mycenaean Settlement at the Menelaion, Sparta",
BSA 76, 71-82.
Catling, H. W. et al.
1980 "The Linear B Inscribed Stirrup Jars and West Crete" BSA 75, 49-113.
1977 Fremde Zuwanderer irri Spatmykenischen Griechenland, Vienna.
1935 Epirotika Chronika, 192f.
French, E. B.
1964 "Late Helladic IIIA1 Pottery from Mycenae", BSA 59, 241-261.
1969 "The First Phase of LH IIIC" AA Heft 2, 133-6.
French E. B. and Rutter, J.
1977 "The Handmade Burnished Ware of the Late Helladic IIIC Period: its Modern
Historical Context", AJA 81, 111-2.
Hallager, B. P.
1983 "A new social class in Late Bronze Age Crete: foreign traders in Khania", in
Krzyszkoyska, O. & Nixon, L. eds. Minoan Society, Bristol.
1978 "Nordwestgriechische Keramik aus der Argolis und ihre Entsprechungen in der
Subapenninfacies", Atti della XX riunione scientifica dell'Istituto italiano de
preistoria e protostoria in Basilicata, 1976, Florence.
1981 "Ausgrabungen in Tiryns 1978, 1979", AA, 149-194.
Mee, C. B.
1982 Rhodes in the Bronze Age, Warminster.
1965-6 "Eleona e Langada: sepolcreti della Tarda Eta del Bronzo a Coo" Annuario
43-44 (NS 27-8), 5-311.
Popham, M. R. & Sackett, L. H.
1968 Excavations at Lefkandi, Euboea, 1964-66, London.
Sandars, N. K.
1978 The Sea Peoples, London.
Sherratt, E. S.
Forthcoming The 'Tower' phase of LH IIIC, Well Built Mycenae, fascicule 20.
Stubbings, F. H.
1954 "A winged-axe mould", BSA 49, 297-8.
Taylour, W. D.
1981 The Excavations, Well Built Mycenae, fascicule 1.
1969 AE, 184.
POSSIBLE NORTHERN INTRUSIONS AT MYCENAE 51
Wardle, D. E. H.
Forthcoming Bronze I Silver I Gold Artifacts, Well Built Mycenae, fascicule 22.
Wardle, K. A.
1977 "Cultural Groups of the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age in North- West Greece"
GodiSnjak XV (Sarajevo) 153-199.
Watrous, L. V.
1984 "The Late Bronze Age pottery from Kommos as evidence for the history of Crete",
Minutes of the Mycenaean Seminar, London, 23. v. 1984.
1983 "Bericht zur Fruhheiladischen Keramik Ausgrabungen in Tiryns 1981", AA 329-358.
THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND 'THE TROJAN QUESTION'
R. F. HODDINOTT
Thrace was a much larger, but seemingly a far more nebulous and
incohesive entity than Mycenaean Greece. Its population was chiefly an
Early Bronze Age mix of the descendants of intrusive stockbreeding
peoples and of survivors of the autochthonous Chalcolithic culture that the
newcomers had destroyed. In this ethnic synthesis which, in my view, gave
birth to the Thracian peoples, the former predominated but, especially in
the more mountainous areas, vestiges of Chalcolithic traditions survived
under difficult conditions through the Early and into the Middle Bronze
During the first two-thirds of the second millennium BC the cultures of
the Thracian territories north and south of the divide created by the lower
reaches of the Danube and the Stara Planina mountains diverged
considerably. South Thrace extended from this divide to the Aegean,
taking in eastern and much of central Macedonia and going into Thessaly.
Except for Thessaly, which, about the mid-millennium, began to be of
interest to Mycenae, on present evidence South Thrace seems to have
remained relatively free of external influences, whether destructive or
The Carpathian region of North Thrace, on the other hand, and
through it, the adjacent Danubian lowlands, had the stimulus of the
metallurgically advanced Early Bronze Age culture of Un6tice. 2 During its
Middle Bronze Age, Bronze III in Mozsolics' terminology, 3 North Thrace's
bronze technology brought it the leadership of east-central Europe. Its
influence spread over territories to the west, north and east, 4 but, until the
final third of the millennium, it seems to have had little or no impact on
Parallels between certain decorative motifs on artefacts of this North
Thracian group and on objects from the Mycenaean Shaft Graves 5 have
1 R. F. Hoddinott, The Thracians, London 1981, 22£f.
2 W. Sarnowska, Kultura Unietycka w Polsce II, Wroclaw 1975, 157.
3 A. Mozsolics, Bronzefunde des Karpatenbeckens, Budapest 1967.
4 Hoddinott 1981, 40ff.
5 G. Karo, Die Schachtgrdber von Mykenai, Munich 1930-33 (subsequently referred to as
'Karo' with number of object or plate).
THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND "THE TROJAN QUESTION' 53
long been recognised and attributed to the northward spread of
Mycenaean influences, although, again, the intervening territory of South
Thrace apparently remained untouched. These parallels have been an
important factor in establishing a chronological framework in which the
east-central European Middle Bronze Age could be dated to around the
mid-second millennium, contemporary with the beginnings of Late
Helladic Greece. 6
Impressive as these analogies are, not all archaeologists agree this
synchronisation. In 1968 E. Neustupny argued that archaeological and
radiocarbon evidence alike supported a date of c. 1900 BC for the
beginning of the central European Middle Bronze Age. 7
A Mycenaean angle comes from Oliver Dickinson, who takes the view
that the second half of the fifteenth century was the earliest time when the
impact of Mycenae could have been felt in central Europe. 'More
expansive theories of early Mycenaean influence are impossible to
maintain on present evidence', he writes, and rely, in part, 'on a rather
inflated view of Mycenaean civilisation.' 8
This argument is basic to the theme of this Congress and so it may be
useful briefly to look again at the characteristic motifs of the east-central
European Middle Bronze Age and comparable ones from the Shaft
First the spiral, a- universal sun symbol found in both the Aegean and
east-central Europe from the Neolithic onwards (Fig. 1). There is no
northern attempt to adopt the complex 'all-over' patterns developed in the
Aegean and reflected in Shaft Grave art on stelai, swords and ornamental
gold objects. Instead, it appears prominently in the form of massive
armguard terminals, offering physical as well as apotropaic protection.'
Twin spiral terminals, as on the Biia bowl 10 and the Vatin gold plaques"
would have been a natural development either from the single armguard
form or from the Undtice 'spectacle' pendant, a likelier ancestor than the
six of this type found in Shaft Grave Circle B. 12
The linked 'S' or running spiral is a rare Shaft Grave motif except
within an all-over pattern. In east-central Europe it is found on such
6 J. Vladir, 'Osteuropaische und Mediterrane Einfliisse im Gebiet der Slowakei wahrend
der Bronzezeit', Slovenskd Archeoldgia 21/2, 1973, especially 311 (with references).
1 E. Neustupny, 'Absolute Chronology of the Neolithic and Aenolithic Periods in Central
and South-eastern Europe', Slovenskd Archeoldgia 16/1, 1968, 19—57.
8 O. T. P. K. Dickinson, The Origins of Mycenaean Civilisation, Goteborg 1977, 105ff.
' Mozsolics 1967, pis 14 passim.
10 A. Mozsolics, 'Goldfunde des Depotfundhorizontes von Hajdiisamson', Bericht R.G.K.
46-47, 1965-66, PI. 12.
" N. Tastf in B. Brukner et ai, Praistorija Vojvodine, Novi Sad 1974, Mozsolics 1965-66,
12 G. E. Mylonas, 'O Tafikds Kikios B' ton Mikinon, Athens 1973.
R. F. HODDINOTT
Fig. 1. Chalcolithic motifs: 1-6, 8-10 Habasefti; 7 Frumu§ica; 11 Traian-Dealul Fintinilor
THRACIANS. MYCENAEANS AND THE TROJAN QUESTION'
Fig. 2. Axeheads with triangular flame motif: Mezobereny (Moszolics 1967)
disparate objects as the Sighisoara or Wietenberg hearth, the Tufalau gold
discs and fine pottery. Local Chalcolithic antecedents are a more probable
origin than any imported influence."
Especially against a background of intensive metallurgical application,
the natural association of fire and the sun is reflected in what, to my
mind, in North Thrace were symbolic representations of flames, either as
series of triangles (Fig. 2) or as hook-like curls composed usually of three
to six parallel lines (Fig. 3). These two motifs, especially the second, not
only fill such circular areas as sword pommels, disc-butts of battle-axes
and disc-pinheads, but decorate sword blades, flat surfaces of battle-axes,
belt clasps and even spearheads. They also form legs of those ancient and
ubiquitous motifs, triskeles and tetraskeles. 14 Other than in triskeles or
tetraskeles Furumark does not record this North Thracian form in
Mycenaean art until Late Helladic III A, c. 1425 to 1300 BC. 15
" Hoddinott 1981, 45ff, illus. 26-28; V. Dumitrescu, Arte preistorica in Romania,
Bucarest 1974, fig. 104.
14 Mozsolics 1967, pi. 9, passim; M. Gedl, Kultura Przedtuzycka, Wroclaw 1975, figs i-ix.
15 A. Furumark, The Mycenaean Pottery, Analysis and Classification, Stockholm 1941,
Motif No. 19, Multiple Stem and Tongue Pattern.
R. F. HODDINOTT
Fig. 3. Weapons with curling flame motif: 1,5,6,8 unknown findspots, Hungary; 2 Veliki
Gaj; 3 Sarkad; 4 Gaura; 7 Barca (1-3, 5-8 Vladar 1973; 4 Moszolics 1%7)
THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND THE TROJAN QUESTION'
A Shaft Grave motif resembling a ribbon-like, long-tailed interrogation
mark is perhaps comparable. Possibly it was intended to represent flames.
But, apart from the evident differences, as it only appears on discs or
appliqu6s from Grave III of Circle A 16 and, in a slightly different,
compass-drawn version from Grave V,' 7 and not again in the Mycenaean
canon, it is unlikely to have inspired the very widespread northern flame
While solar cults were an inheritance of the Balkan Chalcolithic
cultures, horned animal cults were brought by the intrusive stockbreeders
who, settling in the Balkans and north-west Anatolia, adopted stylised
motifs of horns as their main apotropaic symbol. 18
On pottery these motifs often appear on storage jars (Fig. 4). The
usually inverted, Latin letter 'LP, often reduced to a simple arc, was
especially common in Thracian territories and was carried into Greece as
far south as Lerna in the Peloponnese during Early Helladic III.
Fig. 4. Horns motif on pottery: 1 Troy Ilg; 2 Troy II; 3 Sesklo (Hoddinott
16 Karo Nos. 12, 13, 16, pi. XXIX.
17 Karo No. 679, pi. LXII.
18 Hoddinott 1981, chap. 2.
R. F. HqDDINOTT
As with the spiral, east-central European bronzesmiths used this horns
symbol as well as those of Chalcolithic origin to provide the warrior with
both physical and deistic protection. The gold wristguards from Biia,
Pipea, Bilje, Abrud and another from an unknown findspot, all have
massive, Latin letter 'C'-shaped 'horns' terminals" (Fig. 5) and the motif
decorates several of the round gold appliques from Ostrovul Mare. 20 In the
Fig. 5. Gold wristguards: 1 unknown findspot; 2 Pipea; 3 Biia; 4 Bilje (VladSr 1973)
" Mozsolics 1965-66, pis. 19-23.
20 Mozsolics 1965-66, pi. 25.
* THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND 'THE TROJAN QUESTION' 59
Shaft Graves it occurs only on a stele, 21 a gold bowl 22 and, with spiralling
terminals, in three pairs of gold earrings, 23 which some authorities consider
to be possibly of central European origin. 24
How the 41 bronze pendants shaped as horns from Tolnanemedi in
Hungary 25 or the 23 from Donaujvaros I 26 were worn, we do not know.
Attachment to leather jerkins as a form of apotropaic armour is a
possibility. Others, more elaborate, sometimes combine a motif of horns
turning downwards with another one turning upwards and, as in the case
of two from Barca 27 (Fig. 6), invoke the maximum possible strength and
protection by incorporating a design of flame symbols. The Bilje
wristguard is another example.
Fig. 6. Pendants in the shape of horns symbols with
curling flame decoration; Barca (Vladar 1973)
In the Shaft Graves this horns symbol only occurs in the form
resembling a Greek lamvda with curling ends, on 16 lozenge-shaped
appliques from Graves IV and V. Perhaps introduced to Mycenae from
Troy, where it is found on storage pots in Settlements II — V, it was an
21 Karo No. 1429, PI. VI.
22 Karo No. 649, 650, PI. LVI.
23 Karo Nos. 53, 54, 55, PI. XX.
24 A. J. Evans, Shaft Graves and Beehive Tombs of Mycenae, London 1929, 4-7; F.
Matz, Crete and Early Greece, London 1962, 177; R. A. Higgins, Greek and Roman
Jewellery (2nd edn) London 1980, 68.
25 Mozsolics 1967, 170f, pi. 25.
26 Mozsolics 1967, 134, pi. 47.
27 L. Hajek, 'Hlineng lidske plastiky z doby bronzovd v Barci u KoSic', Slav. Arch. 5,
1957, 330, fig. 8/1,2.
R. F. HODDINOTT
Early Bronze Age motif in the Balkans 28 , the probable source of the
Middle Bronze Age forms. There can be no question of it representing a
Mycenaean influence in east-central Europe.
I suggest that the east-central European motifs I have just discussed
emphasise independence of Mycenaean influence rather than the reverse;
but another motif found in both regions is a different matter.
Formed by a continuous undulating band which composes alternating
deep and shallow concave loops, usually within a circle, it appears on 50
of the gold discs and appliques from Shaft Graves HI, IV and V 29 and on
the bowl of a bone spoon from Grave V. 30 Karo Nos. 14 and 699 are
In east-central Europe this motif occurs on bone discs from Vatin 31 and
Tiszafured. 32 It is also found on the base of the Bihar gold bowl No. 4 33
and, adapted to encircle a cylindrical bone handle, again at Vatin. 34 B.
Hansel has commented on the identical syntax and rhythm which the two
groups exhibit. 33 Indeed, it is such that a significant relationship is difficult
to deny (Fig. 7, 1 — 6).
Could this relationship have been a common origin?
During late Early Helladic II, Early Helladic HI and, perhaps, the very
beginning of Middle Helladic, the late third and early second millennia,
the Aegean — with Troy, the Cyclades, Minoan Crete and Southern
Greece — was a prosperous trading area with links reaching west to the
Ionian Sea. 36 There is also evidence suggesting that Southern Greece had
overland trade links extending to the north Balkans.
A sherd of EH III patterned ware in the latest Early Bronze Age level
of Kritsana in central Macedonia demonstrated, in W. A. Heurtley's
words, 'contact with the South on at least one isolated occasion'. 37 We now
know that this contact may not have been as isolated as appeared when
Heurtley wrote. In 1954 D. GaraSanin published three pieces of Helladic
28 Hoddinott 1981, 23ff.
29 Karo, pis. LX-LXVI.
30 Karo, Nos 824/5, pi. CXXXXVI.
31 J. Uzelac, 'Objets en os et en corne de Vatin dans la collection du Musee de Vrsac',
Starinar NS 26, 1975, 131-141, pis. I-XIII, No. 102.
32 I. TCglas, Archaeologiai Erteslto 25, 1905, 168, fig. 1; Vladar 1973, fig. 59, 3.
33 Mozsolics 1965-66, 56f, pis. 8-10.
34 Uzelac 1975, No. 109.
35 B. Hansel, 'Siidosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v. Chr.' in (ed.) B. Hansel,
Siidosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v. Chr., Berlin 1982, 1-38, esp. 5f.
36 J. L. Caskey, 'The Early Helladic Period in the Argolid', Hesperia 29, 1960, 285-303;
C. Renfrew, 'Cycladic Metallurgy and the Aegean Early Bronze Age', American Journal of
Archaeology 71, 1967, 1-20; K. Branigan, "The Round Graves of Levkas reconsidered',
Annual of the British School of Archaeology at Athens 70, 1975, 37-49; R. P. Holloway,
Italy and the Aegean 3000—700 BC, Louvain-la-Neuve 1981, 45ff.
37 W. A. Heurtley, Prehistoric Macedonia, Cambridge 1939, 121, fig. 43.
THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND THE TROJAN QUESTION'
Fig. 7. Alternating deep and shallow loops motif: 1 Mycenae, Karo 699 motif (Vladar 1973);
2 Mycenae, Karo 14 motif (Schliemann); 3 Tiszafured, bone disc (Vladar 1973); 4 Vatin bone
disc (Uzelac 1975); 5 Vatin, bone handle (Uzelac 1975); 6 Bihar, gold bowl (Mozsolics
1965-66); 7 Lerna, clay sealing no. 19 (Heath 1958)
pottery which had been excavated by M. Grbic at Humska Cuka, near
NiS, in 1934, One, a pedestalled bowl with inverted rim (Fig. 8, 3)* was
dated to early EH III. The other two, a cup (Fig. 8, 5) and a fragment of
Minyan ware (Fig. 8, 4) were attributed to the Middle Helladic, but the
discovery of Minyan pottery in EH III levels at Lerna opens the possibility
of a similar attribution for the Minyan piece. Another EH HI sherd was
found during the 1956 excavations (Fig. 8, 2). 38 Still farther north a
fragment of a wheelturned sauceboat dated to an early phase of EH III
(Fig. 8, 1) was excavated at Yela at the confluence of the Drina and
Sava. 39 A slim, curved halberd blade excavated with the pottery at
Humska Cuka* is closely paralleled by a blade found in an EH II context
* Fig. 8 is not published, being unsuitable for reproduction. The caption for this figure
runs as follows: Helladic pottery from Yela and Humska Cuka: 1. Yela (V. Trbuhovic_ and
M. Vasiljevic\ Najastarije Zemljoradnicke kulture u Podrinju, Sabac 1983); 2. Humska Cuka
(M. and D. GaraSanin 1958-59); 3-5. Humska Cuka (D. GaraSanin 1954).
38 D. GaraSanin, 'Quelques elements datant la civilisation de Bubanj-Hum, Archaeologia
lugoslavica 1, 1954, 19-24, figs 1-3; M. and D. GaraSanin, 'Neue Grabung in Velika
Humska Cuka bei NiS', Starinar NS 9-10, 1958-59, 243-255, fig. 14; Caskey 1960, 296f.
39 V. Trbuhovid and M. Vasiljevic, 'Importations du monde egeen dans la station
neolithique Yela a Sabac', Starinar NS 23, 1972, 15-22, pi. II/3, 4.
* D. GaraSanin 1954, fig. 4.
62 R. F. HODDINOTT
at Lerna. 41 Both have the same form of flat heel and similarly placed
rivets, two at Humska Cuka and three at Lerna.
Three Bubanj-Hum I-type flasks from early Middle Helladic Lerna
and others, similarly dated, found elsewhere in Southern Greece 42 may
have been imported from the north, but I think it more likely that they
should be linked with the Thracian or other central Balkan intruders
whose appearance inaugurated the Middle Helladic period.
In the course of the Lerna excavations numerous clay sealings,
representing 69 different seals, were found among or near the burnt debris
of Room XI in the House of the Tiles, a large building destroyed in the
disaster which marked the end of EH II, c. 2200-2100 BC. 43 In Southern
Greece this practice of sealing appears, on present evidence, to have had
its heyday towards the end of EH II but to have continued into EH HI.
Classification according to the type of object to which the Lerna sealings
had been attached showed that the largest number had been used for
boxes and chests. Others encircled the necks of jars or had been applied
to their mouths. A further group of 25, Type E, mostly bore on their
under-sides 'irregular impressions of reeds laid side by side' and often
'the imprint of one or more cords which crossed at right angles to the
reeds.' Some showed that 'the object sealed was not flat but bent in some
way.' Only one indicated that the reeds may have covered a box or similar
container; one more bore impressions of basketry and a few of crudely
woven matting. 44
The numbers and use of sealings found at Lerna suggest the proximity
of something like a warehouse in which a variety of goods were assembled
and packed, presumably for the purpose of trade with outside territories.
Those found during the excavations may have come from packages and
containers awaiting shipment, but broken open and looted before the
building was set on fire.
Sealings from Lerna's type E included no. 19 (Fig. 7, 7). It is one of
several which are clearly earlier versions, quite possibly the originals, of
Shaft Grave motifs, in this case of Karo's No. 699 and similar. I suggest
that this Seal 19, not the later Shaft Grave version, may also be the
original of the Vatin, Tiszafured and Bihar motifs.
41 J. L. Caskey, 'Excavations at Lerna 1954', Hesperia 24, 1955, 46, pi. 23b.
42 J. L. Caskey, 'Excavations at Lerna 1955', Hesperia 25, 1956, 160, pi. 43; 'Excavations
at Lerna 1956', Hesperia 26, 1957, 150f, pi. XL d, f; L. Dor et al, Kirrha, Paris 1960, 71, pi.
44, no. 34; G. Korres, Ergon 1979, 19f, pi. 49; E. Protonotariou-De'flaki, Arh. Deltion,
Chronika 26, 1971, 80, fig. 67, 3; H. W. Catling, 'Archaeology in Greece 1976-77',
Archaeological Reports for 1977-78, No. 24, p. 32.
43 M. Heath, 'Early Helladic Clay Sealings from the House of the Tiles at Lerna,'
Hesperia 27, 1958, 81-121, pis. 19-29.
44 Heath 1958, 99.
THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND 'THE TROJAN QUESTION' 63
In this case, do we have here a glimpse of trading operations about the
turn of the third-second millennium? Was Early Helladic pottery, such as
that found at Humska Cuka and Yela, or some other contemporary
southern luxury item, carefully packed and sealed at Lerna and then taken
north to become the pride of some wealthy, perhaps princely east-central
European recipient? Then were the sealings that guaranteed the origin or
nature of the precious contents copied onto objects of local origin as
symbols of excellence? Can this be the explanation for the transmission of
this curious motif from Southern Greece to the repertoire of the east-
central European Middle Bronze Age?
If we accept this, we find ourselves agreeing with Neustupny's date of
c. 1900 for the beginning of the east-central European Middle Bronze Age
and free of Dickinson's objections with regard to early Mycenaean
influences. Moreover, it conforms with the archaeologically reasoned
arguments of N. Tasic that the chronological limits of the Vatin pottery
should be placed earlier than hitherto, 'regardless of the fact that this is
incongruous with the appearance of "Mycenaean imports" at Vatin itself. ' 45
Give or take a hundred years or so, the east-central European Middle
Bronze Age would then parallel that of the Aegean and Anatolia. The
advanced Central European EBA Un£tice culture had given it a better
start and an earlier flowering than was vouchsafed to Southern Greece,
which began with the destructi6n of the Early Helladic civilisation and
only later absorbed and carried on the brilliant culture of Minoan Crete.
Consequently, I am suggesting that for approximately the first two-
thirds of the second millennium North Thrace and Mycenaean Greece
each occupied their own separate Lebensraum, the former's one of land, the
latter 's of the sea. There was no conflict of interest and there can have
been little, if any contact, other than through occasional intermediaries,
the means whereby a few objects of value, the Shaft Grave gold earrings
for instance, might pass from one territory to the other.
But by about the fourteenth century fundamental changes had begun to
affect both regions. In the north expansion had been replaced by
contraction to its Carpathian core, in which the long lasting Otomani-
Wietenberg culture was yielding to the Gava-Holihrady. Agriculturally and
metallurgically the area was still wealthy but internal unrest appears to
have been considerable 46 and fortified settlements were increasing in
" N. Tasic, "The Problem of "Mycenaean influences" in the Middle Bronze Age Cultures
in the Southeastern part of the Carpathian Basin', Balcanica 4, 1973, 19-37.
46 M. Rusu, 'Die Verbreitung der Bronzehorte in Transsilvanien vom Ende der Bronzezeit
bis in die Mittlere Hallstattzeit', Dacia NS 7, 1963, 177-210.
64 R. F. HODDINOTT
number, size and importance. 47 An achievement of the Gava culture was
its breaching of the lower Danube-Stara Planina barrier, and the
influence of its bossed and channelled pottery spread southwards to affect
the Chatalka and the Pshenichevo cultures of the Thracian Plain, the
Babadag of the West Pontic coastline and the Megalithic of the eastern
Rhodope and Strand j a hills. 48
Mycenae, on the other hand, growing in strength, was expanding
northwards and, having occupied the Thessalian plains, 49 was moving into
Macedonia. For the Mycenaeans the new territories would have provided
land for their expanding population, as well as food and ores. What we do
not know is the extent to which rumours of northern riches had percolated
to and been believed by Mycenaean rulers. With the far-reaching contacts
achieved by Mycenaean traders, it would be strange if this was not the
case and, with rising Mediterranean piracy threatening seaborne trade,
overland access to new sources of wealth would have been an economic
On the evidence of sherds of imported end-LH III A2 to early III B
pottery at Assiros, Mycenaean penetration of the Macedonian interior
may have begun during the first half of the fourteenth century. 51
Thereafter local imitations of Mycenaean pottery increasingly predominat-
ed. These were produced side by side with the traditional Thracian
handmade, which, even in the mountainous region north of Drama,
remained free of the channelled and bossed decoration found north of the
Rhodopes. The presence of such native pottery together with imitated LH
III C in this remote area near the present Greco-Bulgarian frontier
testifies to the strength of the Mycenaean penetration compared with
influences from the north. Channelled or bossed decoration appears only
to occur in central or eastern Macedonia after the last levels containing
LH III C pottery, a transition that C. Koukouli-Chrysanthaki dates to
some time in the first half of the eleventh century. 52
47 K. Horedt, 'Befestigte Siedlungen der Spatbronze-und der Hallstattzeit im innerkarpati-
schen Rumanien' in (ed.) B. Chropovsk^, Symposium zu Probtemen der jungeren Hallstattzeit
im Mitteleuropa, Bratislava 1974, 205-228.
48 H, Todorova, 'Uber einige Probleme der sud-osteuropaischen Friiheisenzeit', Thracia 1,
1972, 61— Tl; B. Hansel, Beitrage zur regionalen und chronologischen Gliederung der dlteren
Hallstattzeit an der unteren Donau, Bonn 1976.
* V. R. d'A. Desborough, The Last Mycenaeans and their Successors, Oxford 1964,
127-138; B. Feuer, The Northern Mycenaean Border in Thessaly, Oxford 1983.
50 Heurtley 1939, 93ff; Desborough 1964, 139ff, 217ff; C. Podzuweit, 'Spatmykenische
Keramik von Kastanas', Jahrbuch RGZ Mainz 26, 1979, 203-223; K. A. Wardle,
'Excavations at Assiros 1975-9', Annual of the Brit. Schl. at Athens 75, 1980, 229-267; D.
Grammenos, 'Bronzezeitliche Forschungen in Ostmakodonien' in (ed.) B. Hansel,
Sudosteuropa. ... Berlin 1982, 89-98; C. Koukouli-Chrysanthaki, 'Late Bronze Age in
Eastern Macedonia', Thracia Praehistorica, suppl. Pulpudeva 3, Sofia 1982, 231—258.
51 Wardle 1980.
52 Grammenos 1982; Koukouli-Chrysanthaki 1982.
THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND THE TROJAN QUESTION'
In Greek Thrace a few sherds of Mycenaean pottery have been found at
Maroneia, but it is unclear what period of LH III they represent. Behind
Maroneia two Late Bronze Age Thracian fortresses have been excavated
by E. Tsimpidi-Pentazos on the hills Aghios Gheorghios and Asar-tepe.
They were destroyed and rebuilt many times but some of the massive
roughly cut rocks that originally formed their walls still remain. 53 Their
situation suggests their purpose may have been defence against attack
from the sea. Possibly Mycenaeans were less welcome here; they may
have been among the fortresses' assailants. In any case Mycenae had
approached appreciably nearer to Troy, only 150 km from Thasos and 125
This brings me to 'the Trojan question' which, just over a hundred years
ago, Schliemann, writing to prospective publishers, claimed at least twice,
to have settled 'for ever'. 54
Troy VI was a prosperous, independent, strongly fortified settlement,
fortunate in lying for most of its existence beyond the reach of its
powerful contemporaries — Hittite Anatolia to the east, Mycenae to the
south west, North Thrace to the north west. Presumably it owed its wealth
to its situation and the use it made of it, but, other than the existence of
trade with Mycenae and Cyprus, 55 this 'use' is still rather a mystery and we
have been remarkably ignorant about its relations with its closer
With regard to the latter, it is a pleasure to welcome a new initiative.
During the past five years,. University of Istanbul teams, led by Dr
Mehmet Ozdogan, with the support of Professor Halet Cambel and the
cooperation of the appropriate Turkish authorities, have been conducting
intensive field surveys of the territory we know as south-east or Turkish
Thrace. Having had the good fortune to learn from Dr Ozdogan about his
work, I am happy to say that this territory is ceasing to be an
archaeological terra incognita. A National Geographic Society Research
Report by him is in course of publication, as is an article in Volume X of
Anadolu Ara^tirmalari. Unable to be here himself, he has generously
permitted me to draw upon some of the new and valuable information he
is making available.
One of the many questions for which answers, based on factual
evidence gathered in these surveys, are now beginning to appear is the
extent of Trojan penetration into Thrace. I am grateful to Dr Ozdogan for
53 E. Tsimpidi-Pentazos, 'Proistorikai 'Akropoleis an Thraki', Praktika tis 'Archaiologikis
■Etairetas 1972, 86ff.
54 M. I. Finley, 'Schliemann and Troy — One Hundred Years After', Proc. of British
Academy 60, 1974, 393-412.
55 C. Blegen et at., Troy, Princeton 1950-58, III, 1, 11-20.
66 R. F. HODDINOTT
informing me that in the second millennium until late, perhaps the end of
Troy VI, this seems to have been limited to the Gelibolu, or Gallipoli,
peninsula. Beyond this Thrace was Thracian, and a barrier rather than a
passage for trade between Europe and Anatolia.
Occupation of the Gelibolu peninsula does, however, emphasise the
firmness of Troy VI's control of the Dardanelles. Moreover, if, as it now
appears, we must discount the existence of any trade route through south
east Thrace, the prosperity of Troy VI must to a very considerable extent
have depended upon seaborne trade, of which the Aegean may have
provided only a part. The Black Sea could have offered access to the
wealthy North Thracian territories of south east Europe as well as to the
Ukraine and the Caucasus. The high seas are notoriously secretive and at
present we lack evidence of such trade, although commendably cautious
progress is being made by our Bulgarian colleagues in the difficult task of
identifying evidence of second as well as first millennium shipping along
their coast. 5 * Nevertheless, we must admit the possibility that Troy's
importance may have lain largely in the fact that neither Aegean nor
Black Sea traders could bypass it. To the Mycenaeans control of Troy may
have appeared the key to incalculable Black Sea wealth.
The thirteenth century, LH III B, saw the peak of Mycenaean power.
By the end of the century catastrophe had struck the Peloponnese and
central Greece and irreversible decline had begun. Earlier than this would
have presented the optimum chance of success against Troy, but were
Mycenae then unprepared, later might have been a desperate 'now or
never' opportunity to retrieve failing fortunes.
So, if part of the Trojan question is being answered, we are still unable
to fit Troy VI, Vila, Vllbl and VIIb2 into a definitive picture. It is
probable, although not beyond doubt, that Troy VI was shattered by an
earthquake, probably during the thirteenth century. 57 It is likely that the
same earthquake would have affected the Gelibolu peninsula. Blegen's
finding that Troy Vila was obliged to house a larger population than its
predecessor 58 may suggest housing of Gelibolu refugees as well, perhaps as
others from the surrounding countryside.
The Homeric epic and contemporary political and economic circumstan-
ces suggest the likelihood of a Mycenaean attack on Troy. // this did
happen, whether it was on Troy VI or, as Blegen thought, Vila, 59 and
56 B. Dimitrov and A. Orachev, 'Pristanishtnata sistema po Zapadno-pontiskolo
kraibrezhie (sredata na II — I nil. pr.n.e.) Arheologiya 24/1. 1982, 1 — 11.
57 Blegen el al., Troy III, 1, 331f.
58 C. Blegen, Troy and the Trojans, London 1963, 152.
" Blegen et al, Troy IV, 5ff.
THRACIANS, MYCENAEANS AND THE TROJAN QUESTION'
when; and whether it achieved only the sack of Troy but failed to gain
Mycenaean control of the straits, if that was the object; or was a total
failure, with the earthquake patriotically converted by later Greek bards
into a victory for Greek arms and cunning; all these are questions for
which we do not have satisfactory answers. 60
Troy Vila may not have been taken by assault; J. L. Caskey, a member
of the University of Cincinnati team at Troy, has admitted that its
destruction could also have been caused by 'an accidental fire, in unlucky
circumstances, on a day when a strong wind was blowing'. 61
The end of Vllbl is another open question; the circuit walls appear to
have remained undamaged. We only know that VHb2 was inhabited by a
substantially Thracian population. Its bossed and channelled ware and the
find of a crude anthropomorphic figurine link it culturally to the Thracians
of the Meden Rid hills behind Sozopol, where, at Malko Kale, similar
pottery and figurines have been found. 62 But any connexion between this
Thracian movement and the Thracians who expelled or followed the last
Mycenaean elements of Macedonia has still to be established. Schliemann
would be astonished to learn how much, a hundred years later, still
remains to be settled.
w Blegen et al., Troy IV, lOff; Blegen 1963, 147ff; C. Nylander, 'The Fall of Troy',
Antiquity 27, 1963, 6-11; Finley 1974.
61 J. L. Caskey, 'The Trojan War', Journal of Hellenic Studies 84, 1964, 9-11.
62 I. Venedikov and A. Fol (eds.) Trakiiski Pametnitsi I: Megalitite v Trakiya, Sofia 1976,
131-155, pis. 202, 256; Blegen 1963, PI. 66.
RELATIONS CULTURELLES ENTRE LA THRACE,
LA GRECE ET L'ANATOLIE DU NORD-OUEST
A L'AGE DU BRONZE MOYEN ET RECENT
La question concernant Ies relations culture lies entre la Thrace, la Grece
et l'Anatolie du Nord-Ouest a l'age du bronze moyen et recent ainsi qu'au
debut de l'age du fer ancien a une grande importance pour l'etablissement
d'une claire chronologie entre les differentes civilisations et pour la
solution des problemes historiques importants concernant les destins
des peuples qui ont habite les territoires traites.
Jusqu'a present on a etabli qu'a l'age du bronze ancien les relations
culturelles entre la Thrace et la region d'Egee et d'Anatolie sont
particulierement intenses et multiples.
A cette p^riode non seulement les trouvailles particulieres caracteristi-
ques mais aussi la plus grande partie du materiel archeologique pris en
masse decouvert en Thrace, trouve des analogies directes dans les vestiges
de l'age du bronze ancien dans l'Anatolie du Nord-Ouest et dans certaines
lies egeennes (Lesbos, Lemnos etc.). 1
Ce fait nous donne raison de parler non seulement de relations
culturelles similaires et d'une ligne de developpement commun mais aussi
d'une parente entre les cultures de l'age du bronze ancien qui se sont
developpees dans les regions examinees (fig. 1, 2, 3).
A l'Sge du bronze moyen en Thrace on observe une evolution de la
culture plus independante. A cette periode nombre de nouveaux elements
qui etaient absents ou en quantite restreinte a l'age du bronze ancien, se
sont diffuses. Les paralleles existant entre la Thrace et l'Anatolie du Nord-
Ouest presque disparaissent (fig. 4).
Afin de pouvoir eclaircir profondement les contacts entre les
civilisations de l'age du bronze moyen et recent en Thrace et la civilisation
de Mycenes il est opportun d'examiner en bref certaines questions
fondamentales liees avec revolution des civilisations en Grece a l'age du
1 T. Hji. TeopnieB, H. S. Mepnep-r, P. B. KaTHHiapoB h np . E3epo.
PaHH<)6poH30BOTo'ceflHme. C, 1979, 311-316, 497-511; R. Katiniarov. Sur la
synchronisation des civilisations de l'age du bronze ancien en Thrace et dans la region d'Egee
Fig. 1. Tessons d'ecuclles en argile decorees de rebords en relief et d'ornements incises et
piques (Age du bronze ancien)
OOO OO O Q O O O O
Fig. 2. Tessons d'ecuelles en argile decorecs d'ornements incises (Age du bronze ancien)
Fig. 3. Anses dentelees et en spirale sur vases en argile (Age du bronze ancien)
Fig. 4. Tasse en argile du tell de Diadovo, departement de Sliven (Age de bronze moyen)
Pour le moment on a etabli trois interruptions plus ou moins
manifestoes, qui precisent la transition de la periode de l'Helladique
ancien a la periode de l'Helladique moyen (environ 1900 avant notre ere),
de la penode de l'Helladique moyen a la periode de l'Helladique recent
(environ 1600 avant notre ere) et a la fin de l'Helladique recent (environ
1200 avant notre ere). Chaque periode mentionn^e plus haut pourrait y
etre la periode de la premiere invasion des tribus parlant la langue
grecque. 2 II n'y a pas longtemps predominait l'opinion que les sites
helladiques anciens ont ete detruits violemment a la fin de la periode de
J. T. Hooker. Mycenaean Greece, London, Henley and Boston, 1977, p. 15.
Fig. 5. a) Tasse en argile du tell de Nova Zagora; b) Cruche en argile de la necropole pres
de Nova Zagora; c) Cruche en argile de Plovdiv; d) Canthare en argile de Plovdiv; e)
Canthare en argile du tell Razkopanitsa, pres du village de Manole, departement de Plovdiv;
f) Canthare en argile du tell Razkopanitsa, pres du village de Manole, departement de
Plovdiv (Age du bronze recent)
Fig. 6. a) Figurine anthropomorphe en argile de la necropole pres du village d'Orsoia,
departement de Mihailovgrad; b) Figurine anthropomorphe en argile de la necropole pres du
village d'Orsoia, departement de MihaQovgrad; c) Canthare en argile de la necropole pres du
village d'Orsoia, departement de Mihailovgrad; d) Figurine zoomorphe en argile de la
necropole pres du village d'Orsoia, departement de Mihailovgrad (Age du bronze recent).
importance primordiale pour les questions examinees la circonstance que
dans les tombes "a puits" on retrouve non seulement de la ceramique de
la periode de 1'Helladique moyen et de la phase I de la p^riode de
I Helladique recent mais aussi des vases en argile qui portent 1'empreinte
caracteristique du d^but de la civilisation de Mycenes. L'etude de ce fait
donne la possibility de poursuivre en meme temps la conservation ainsi
que le ddveloppement ultiSrieur de Involution d'un certain type de
ceramique de la periode de 1'Helladique moyen ce qui prouve
RELATIONS CULTURELLES 79
indiscutablement l'existence d'un lien organique et continu entre les
cultures de l'Helladique moyen et recent dans la Grece continentale. 16
Pendant les II et III al phases ceramiques de l'Helladique recent, la
civilisation mycenienne se diffuse dans plusieurs regions de la Grece
La civilisation mycenienne domine dans l'areal d'Egee pendant les III^
et III b phases de l'Helladique recent. 18 En consequence de la revue breve
que nous avons realise, il est evident que pendant les deux premiers
etapes du developpement de la civilisation mycenienne, — une periode
caracterisee par une diffusion encore restreinte par territoire, il est difficile
de decouvrir en Thrace des materiaux qui permettraient d'etablir
l'existence de relations culturelles entre les deux regions.
Pendant le xv eme siecle avant notre ere en resultat du developpement
ulterieur des epees de bronze de type "A" et "B" (d'apres la typologie de
N. K. Sandars) a Crete et Mycenes se sont manifestes ainsi que le type
"C". 19 Des rapieres myceniennes du type "C-l" ou des rapieres qui ont ete
fortement influencees de ce type on trouve aussi dans les terres bulgares
actuelles, qui excellent par leur travail precis et raffine. Dans la Bulgarie
du Sud-Est jusqu'a present on a trouve seulement deux rapieres, chacune
accompagnee d'un point de lance en forme de feuille de laurier et a
douille en forme conique (fig. 7). 20 Des rapieres pareilles ont ete
decouvertes aussi au nord du Balkan (village Dr. Jossifovo, departement
de Michajlovgrade 21 , village de Galatine, departement de Vratza 22 et
village de Sokol, departement de Silistra 23 ).
Ayant en vue l'analyse detaillee, les ressemblances et les differences des
rapieres entre le type mycenien trouve en Bulgarie et les rapieres de Crete
et de Mycenes, B. Hansel tire la conclusion qu'elles sont une production
locale creee sous l'influence du Sud. 24
16 Ibidem, p. 56.
17 Ibidem, p. 6.
18 Ibidem, p. 6.
" Ibidem, p. 89.
20 B. <I>HJIOB. TpaKHHCKO-MHKeHCKH OTHOUieHHJl. C6opHHK B HeCT Ha rnxxb. fl.
IllHuiMaHOB. C, 1920, 40-53; IL fleteB. ripernen Ha npaHCTopHiecKHTe npoyMBamw b
ceBepHHTe ckjiohobc Ha Poflonirre. — PofloncKH c6opHHK. II. C, 1969, (pHr. 9, 3; N. K.
Sandars. Later Aegean Bronze Swords. — AJA, 1963, vol. 67, 2, pi. 22, 5, 22, 7; B.
Hansel. Bronzene Griffzungenschwerter aus Bulgarien. — PZ, 1970, 45, Heft 1, fig. 1, 1,
fig. 1, 3; I. Panayotov. Bronze Rapiers, Swords and Axes from Bulgaria. — Thracia, V,
S., 1980, 173-198.
21 N. K. Sandars. Op. cit.,pl. 22,9; B. Hansel. Op. cit., fig. 1,5; I. Panayotov.
Op. cit., fig. 1, 5.
22 B. Hhkojiob. ranaTHH. Bpaua, 1969, p. 8sqq., fig. 7; I. Panayotov. Op. cit., fig.
23 B. Hansel. Eine datierte Rapierklinge mykenischen Typs von der Unteren Donau. —
PZ, 1973, 48, Heft 2, fig. 1, 1, pi. 50, 15; I. Panayotov. Op. cit., fig. 2, 2.
24 B. Hansel. Bronzene. . ., 26-41; Eine datierte. . ., 200-206.
Fig. 7. Rapieres, point de lance et 6p6es de bronze des regions diffcrentes de la Bulgarie
(Age du bronze recent)
Fig. 8a. Petites doubles haches en bronze — villbage de
Kalouguerovo, departement de Pazardjik
Fig. 8b. Modele de double hache de culte en argile de la necropole pres du village d'Orsoia,
departement de Mihailovgrad
Les 6pees des terres bulgares sont differentes de celles de Mycenes par
les deux quillons disposes en angle droit sur les deux cot6s de la fusee et
le plus petit ou le plus grand nombre de raceords de bronze pour fixer la
fusee. La plus proche des rapieres de Grece est celle du village Galatine.
Au village de Pavelsko, departement de Smolian, a 6t6 ddcouverte une
epee a la forme 61egante, fine au long corps droit avec des quillons de la
Fig. 8c. Double hache en bronze — village de Semerdjievo, departement de Rousse
Fig. 8d. Double hache en bronze
■ village de Stolat, departement de Gabrovo (age du
fusee faiblement convexes. 25 On a emis la supposition qu'elle a ete
fabriquee dans un atelier qui ait subi et sauvegarde les traditions
A la fin de l'age du bronze dans les terres bulgares on rencontre aussi
d'autres types d'epees a la fus6e. Elles sont destinees non seulement pour
percer mais aussi pour couper (fig. 7). Ces epees avec les deux cotes
presque paralleles sont tout a fait differentes des rapieres myceniennes.
On les trouve plus souvent au nord des Balkans et elles sont propres en
general pour la region Carpato-Danubienne.
Pendant la periode du bronze recent dans les terres bulgares on a
rencontre aussi les doubles haches (fig. 8a-d). Une attention particuliere
merite la double hache miniature de bronze du village de Semtchinovo,
departement de Pazardjik (fig. 9), qui a donne la possibilite a R. Popov
25 B. Mhkob. IlpenHCTopHMecKH cejiHiya h HaxoflKH b BuirapHa. C, 1933, p. 108; II.
JI,eTeB. ITperjien Ha npaHCTopHMecKHTe. . ., fig. 9, 2; I. Panayotov. Op. cit., fig. 3, 1.
B. Hansel. Bronzene.
Fig. 9. Double hache miniature en bronze du village de Semtchinovo, depart e men t de
Pazardjik (Age du bronze rdcent)
de poser la question de l'origine et de la diffusion de ce type de hache et
d'affirmer l'opinion enoncee deja de l'existence des relations culturelles
entre les terres de Thrace et le monde d'Egee. 27
Une attention speciale meritent les vases en argile trouves en Grece, qui
d'apres le mode de preparation, la surface et l'ornement sont totalement
differents de la ceramique mycenienne. Les vases sont faits a la main et
ont une surface lisse. Leur decouverte a Korakou, Mycenes et Tirynthe
prouve qu'elles ne sont pas un phenomene isole mais relativement
largement repandu. 28
Les recherches archeologiques effectuees jusqu'a present dans la
Bulgarie du Sud-Est demontrent que ce type de vase est le plus repandu et
le plus typique pour la civilisation de l'age du fer ancien en Thrace (fig.
27 P. IlonoB. npeflHCTOpirqeciui KyjiTOBH 6paflBH b Bi>JirapiiJi. — K>6iuieeH romuiiHHK Ha
HapoAHaTa 6H6jiHOTeica b IIjiobhhb. 1925, 105-109; I. Panayotov. Op. cit., fig. 6, 4.
28 J. B. Rutter. Ceramic Evidence for Northern Intruders in Southern Greece at the
Beginning of the Late Helladic UT Period. — AJA, 79, 1975, 1, p. 17; E. French, J.
Rutter. The Handmade Burnished Ware of the Late Helladic III C Period: its Modern
Historical Content. — AJA, 80, 1976, p. 112.
Fig. 10 a,b. Tasses en argile du village de Assenovets, departement de Sliven (Age du fer
Fig. 11. a) Urne a mamelon (Buckelkeramik) en argile du village d' Assenovets, departement de
Sliven; b) Urne a mamelon en argile du tell de Nova Zagora (Age du fer ancien).
10a, b). Cette circonstance a donne" des arguments a certains savants de
qualifier avec raison cette ceramique comme temoignage de 1'existence
dans certaines regions en Grece d'une population intrusive venue
probablement des terres bulgares actuelles. 29
Des poteries analogues ont et6 trouvees non seulement en Grece mats
aussi a Troie VII bl .
A Troie VII b2 on continue a les fabriquer, mais ici pour la premiere fois
surgit aussi la ceramique a mamelon (Buckelkeramik) qui est typique aussi
pour la culture materielle de la Thrace a l'age du fer ancien dans la
Bulgarie Sud-Est (fig. 11a, b).
J. B. Rutter. Op. cit., p. 17.
RELATIONS CULTURELLES 85
Un examen en detail de cette ceramique a une grande importance
puisque cela va nous permettre d'eclaircir pleinement d'autres directions
les relations mutueltes culturelles et les contacts entre les territoires
examines, car d'un cote nous avonsxmontre" des objets particuliers typiques
pour la civilisation mycenienne trouves en Thrace, et qui sont rattaches a
l'age du bronze recent et d'autre part, la ceramique typique pour l'age du
fer ancien de Thrace qui a ete d6couverte en Grece et a Troie.
La decouverte de ceramique travaillee a la main a surface lisse a
Korakou a une grande importance puisque le site n'a pas ete detruit ni
delaisse au bout de la phase III b de la periode de l'Helladique recent, mais
a continue son existence pendant la phase III C . Probablement cette
ceramique qui est etrange a la civilisation mycenienne a ete travaillee sur
place par des tribus venues du nord, qui pendant les grandes r6bellions se
sont etablies dans les centres vuln£rables de la civilisation mycenienne. 30
Ces donnees en aucun cas, au moins pour le moment ne permettent pas
de discuter l'existence d'une migration multiple de tribus thraces
profondement dans l'areal de Mycenes. Ce sont seulement des
temoignages de l'existence de contacts categoriques entre deux commu-
nautes ethno-culturelles bien formees et determinees dont l'une a evolue"
dans Tarsal de Thrace et d'Anatolie du Nord-Ouest, peuple par des tribus
thraces et l'autre — dans l'areal de la plus grande partie de la Grece
habitee par des tribus grecques.
Pour le moment les donnees dont nous disposons sont assez
insuffisantes pour permettre plus grandes conclusions historiques, pourtant
elles decouvrent une possibilite de jeter une certaine lumiere sur la
question qui touche les relations mutuelles entre les Thraces et les
Myceniens a l'age du bronze recent et l'age du fer ancien.
30 Ibidem, p. 17; J. T. Hooker. Op. tit., p. 146.
MYKENAI, DER MITTLERE DONAURAUM WAHREND
UND DER SCHATZ VON VALCITRAN
Der Bauer, der die Furche pfliigt,
hebt einen Goldtopf mit der Scholle.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust. Der Tragddie zweiter Teil
Die Problematik der kulturellen Beziehungen zwischen Mitteleuropa und
dem Balkan auf der einen, dem agaischen Kuiturkreis und den
angrenzenden ostmediterranen Gebieten auf der anderen Seite hat in der
archaologischen Diskussion der letzten Jahre eine nicht unerhebliche Rolle
gespielt. 1 Durch derartige Kontakte fallt nicht nur Licht auf die
chronologischen Verhaltnisse, sondern es scheint sich in manchen Punkten
auch ein tieferes Verstandnis der zivilisatorischen Erscheinungen des
barbarischen Europa, seiner materiellen Kultur und vielleicht auch seiner
gesellschaftlichen Verhaltnisse und Veranderungen anzubahnen. 2 Dank der
Aufarbeitung einschlagiger Materialgattungen — des Pferdegeschirrs, der
balkanisch-mykenischen Spiral- und Wellenornamentik, der Waffenfor-
men, der Goldfunde — stehen wir heute auf einem sicheren, gefestigten
Im folgenden sei ein Teilaspekt, namlich die Entstehung einer
balkanischen Toreutik wahrend des Hajdusamson-Horizontes, gleichzeitig
ungefahr mit den Schachtgrabern von Mykenai (SH I, ca. 16. Jh. v. Chr.),
in den Vordergrund der Betrachtung gerixckt. Davon ausgehend wird dann
der Versuch einer erneuten Wiirdigung und Einordnung des Schatzfundes
von Val&tran unternommen.
1 Grundlegende Literatur: J. Werner, in: Atti lo congresso internaz. preistoria e
protostoria rnediterranea (1950) 293ff.; R. Hachmann, Die friihe Bronzezeit im westlichen
Ostseegebiet (1957); J. Bouzek, Pamatky Arch. 57, 1966, 242ff.; S. Piggott, Sbornfk Praha
20, 1966, 117ff.; S. Schickler, Fundber. Baden- Wiirttemberg 1, 1974, 714ff; I. Bona, Die
mittiere Bronzezeit Ungarns und ihre siidostlichen Beziehungen (1975); H. Miiller-Karpe,
Jahresbericht Inst, fur Vorgeschichte Frankfurt 1977, 39ff.; H. Matthaus, Die BronzegefaBe
der kretisch-mykenischen Kultur. PBF II 1 (1980) 344ff.; H.-G. Huttel, Bronzezeitliche
Trensen in Mittel- und Osteuropa. PBF XVI 2 (1981) 40ff. 53ff. 74ff.; B. Hansel, in:
Sudosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v.Chr. Prahistorische Archaologie in Sudosteuropa I
(1982) Iff.; H.-G. Buchholz, in: Ancient Bulgaria. Papers Presented to the International
Symposium on the Ancient History and Archaeology of Bulgaria, Nottingham 1981 (1983)
43ff.; S. Hiller, in: Temple Univ. Aegean Symposium 9 (1984) 14ff. — Noch nicht zuganglich
war dem Verfasser: A. F. Harding, The Mycenaeans and Europe (1984).
2 Vgl. besonders H.-G. Huttel, in Sudosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v.Chr. (1982)
39ff.; ders., Jahresbericht Inst, fur Vorgeschichte Frankfurt 1977, 82f.
DaS es Exporte kretisch-mykenischen Metallgeschirrs iiber den Balkan
hinaus bis nach Mitteleuropa schon im 16. und 15. Jahrhundert v. Chr.
(SM IA/SH I und SM IB/SH IIA) gegeben habe, darf beim derzeitigen
Forschungsstand fast als sicher gelten: Ein TongefaB wie der bekannte,
haufig zitierte Becher von Nienhagen (Abb. 1), der im mitteleuropaischen
Aunjetitz-Milieu isoliert wirkt, laBt sich wohl nur durch das Vorbild
minoisch-mykenischer Edelmetallbecher des Typs Vaphio erklaren (Abb.
2). 3 Die konische Grundform und die Henkelkonstruktion, gekennzeichnet
Abb. 1. Nienhagen. Tonbecher
Abb. 2. Knossos. Steinnachahmung eines Vaphiobechers
durch waagerechte Henkelbahnen, welche ein senkrechtes Zwischenglied
verkniipft, scheinen in agaischer Tradition zu wurzeln. 4 Als direkter Beleg
darf die Bronzetasse von Dohnsen, Kreis Celle (Abb. 3) angefiihrt
werden, die formal wie vom Dekor her aufs beste mit agaischen
3 H. Motefindt, Arch. Anz. 1912, 99ff.; H. Matthaus, Die Kunde 28/29, 1977/78, 60f.
Anm. 38 (mit Lit.); Hansel a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 7f.
' Zum Typ des Vaphio-Bechers: E. N. Davis, The Vapheio-Cups and Aegean Gold and
Silver Ware (1977) passim; R. Laffineur, Les vases en m£tal precieux a l'dpoque mycenienne
(1977) 10ff.; Matthaus a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 238ff. 246ff.; ders., MetallgefaBe und GefaBunter-
satze der Bronzezeit, der geometrischen und archaischen Periode auf Cypern. PBF II 8
Abb. 3. Dohnsen, Kr. Celle. Kretisch-mykenische Bronzetasse
Abb. 4. Thera, Akrotiri. Bronzene Tasse.
Metallarbeiten des 16. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. ubereinstimmt. 5 So stellen sich
der Dohnsener Tasse eine typologisch identische, aber unverzierte Tasse
aus der Siedlung von Akrotiri auf Thera (Abb. 4) und ein Tassenfragment
aus den Schachtgrabern von Mykenai zur Seite.* Gelegentlich geauBerte
Zweifel an der Authentizitat des Fundortes sind nie wirklich begriindet
worden, der Verdacht einer neuzeitlichen Einschleppung konnte vielmehr
weitgehend entkraftet werden.
5 E. Sprockhoff, Germania 39, 1961, llff.; Matthaus a.a.O. (Anm. 3) 51ff.
6 Matthaus a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 224ff. Taf. 41, 343. 346.
Bei GefaBen wie der Dohnsener Tasse oder Bechern des Typs Vaphio,
die als Vorbild hinter dem Becher von Nienhagen stehen, handelt es sich
keineswegs um beliebige Handelsware, wie sie etwa Keramik darstellt.
Denn GefaBe aus Gold, Silber, aber auch aus Bronze zahlten wahrend des
gesamten Altertums fast ausschlieBlich zum Besitz privilegierter, hoch im
sozialen Spektrum rangierender Bevolkerungsschichten, zahlten zum
Ausstattungsluxus von Adel und Fiirsten. Es durfte unter diesem Aspekt
kein Zufall sein, daB die Kulturverbindungen zwischen dem ostmediterra-
nen Raum und dem Balkan bzw. dariiber hinaus Mitteleuropa eine andere
Qualitat besitzen als jene zwischen Agais und dem Vorderen Orient. Im
Orient und in Agypten ist fur gewohnlich die Keramik verlaBlichster
Indikator weitgespannter Kontakte. Umfangreicherer Warenverkehr auf
niedrigerer Ebene muB folglich dort neben dem naturlich nicht
unbekannten Austausch von Luxusgiitern gestanden haben. Ein Beispiel
fur letzteres bieten etwa die Keftiu-Darstellungen in Grabern agyptischer
Wurdentrager. Auf dem Balkan fehlt minoische oder mykenische Keramik
weitgehend. Wo sich Kontakte abzeichnen, scheinen sie sich weitgehend
im .soziaien Umfeld mykenischer Aristokratie und entsprechender
Bevolkerungsschichten auf dem Balkan abzuspielen, wobei dieser
Austausch nicht eingleisig verlief, sondern eher im Sinne gegenseitigen
Gebens und Nehmens, wenngleich der agaische Raum kulturell dem
balkanischen naturlich unendlich iiberlegen war — auch dies im
diametralen Gegensatz zum Verhaltnis Agais-Orient. Einige wenige
Beispiele mogen hier geniigen, um den Rahmen abzustecken:
1. Die Analysen von Goldartefakten , die A. Hartmann in den letzten
Jahren durchfuhrte, haben gezeigt, daB ein Teil des Goldes in den
Schachtgrabern von Mykenai vermutlich aus Siebenbiirgen stammt. 7 Dies
bestatigen Lockenringe balkanischer Art im III. Schachtgrab von
Mykenai. 8 Auf der anderen Seite haben spiralverzierte mykenische
Goldblecharbeiten offensichtlich balkanischen Fundstiicken wie den
Goldscheiben aus dem Hort von Jufalau Pate gestanden. 9
2. Deutlich wird eine Abhangigkeit des Balkans an den dort im
Hajdusamson-Horizont erstmals auftauchenden Prunkwaffen. 10 Ein Fund-
stuck wie das Goldschwert von Per§inari weist in der Gestaltung des
Heftes und im Querschnitt der Klinge auf formal ahnliche, zu praktischem
Gebrauch gleichfalls nur bedingt geeignete kretisch-mykenische Rapiere
mit goldbeschlagenem Griff. In Per§inari ist sogar der Schritt zur reinen
7 A. Hartmann, Prahistorische Goldfunde aus Europa. SAM V (1982); vgl. ferner J.
Muhly, in: Temple Univ. Aegean Symposium 8 (1983) Iff.; E. N. Davis, ebd. 32ff.
8 A. Mozsolics, 46./47. BerRGK 1965/66, 19ff.
' Hansel a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 5f.; Mozsolics a.a.O. (Anm. 8) 28ff. # Taf. 17.
10 Hansel a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 6ff.; MuUer-Karpe a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 50 Abb. 19; K. Kilian,
Jahresbericht Inst, fur Vorgeschichte Frankfurt 1976, 116 Abb. 3.
90 HARTMUT MATTHAUS
Zeremonialwaffe, zum prof an oder religios motivierten Statussymbol zur
Ganze vollzogen, da das Material Gold eine Verwendung als Kampfwaffe
iiberhaupt nicht mehr gestattet.
3. Nur kurz erwahnt, da haufig diskutiert, sei die Wirkung ostmediter-
raner Beinarbeiten mit Spiral- und Wellenornamentik, die mit Hilfe des
Zirkels konstruiert wurde. 11 Entsprechungen zu Zirkeltechnik und
Dekorationssystemen finden sich in groBer Zahl auf dem Balkan und in
Mitteleuropa. Pferdegeschirrteile, Knochenscheiben und kleine pyxidenar-
tige Gegenstande aus Bein sind dort die hauptsach lichen Ornamenttrager.
Dabei muB im Auge behalten werden, daB die Genese dieses in so
reichem MaBe in Mykenai gepflegten Ornamentstiles durchaus off en ist:
Weder im mittelhelladischen Griechenland noch im minoischen Kreta
lassen sich Vorstufen greifen. Sporadische Parallelen in Anatolien (z. B. in
Alisar) und Syrien (Alalakh/Tell Atchana) weisen auf eine ostliche
Komponente, von der spathelladische Kunsthandwerker profitiert haben
konnten. 12 Eine wirkliche Klarung wird aber erst durch eine Vermehrung
des anatolisch-orientalischen Materials, das in seinem jetzigen Zustand
nicht zuletzt auch chronologische Probleme bietet, moglich sein.
4. Neben mykenischen Einfliissen mogen auch Kulturkontakte mit
Anatolien auf dem Balkan wirksam geworden sein: Entsprechungen zu
den haufigen balkanischen stangenformigen Trensenknebeln aus Bein oder
Horn kennen wir bislang nur aus Kleinasien. 13 Auch wenn die
kleinasiatischen Funde sparlich sind und sich durchweg nur schlecht
zeitlich einordnen lassen, sollten sie nicht ganzlich aus der Diskussion
verschwinden. Gerade das Fehlen reicher Grab- und Depotfunde in
Anatolien verfuhrt nur zu leicht, diesen Kulturraum in seiner Wirkungs-
moglichkeit zu unterschatzen.
5. Andere Formen balkanischen Pferdegeschirrs, die Trensen mit
scheibenformigen Knebeln aus Bein, deren Vorkommen sich vom Balkan
bis nach SiidruBland verfolgen lassen, ermoglichen eine zweifelsfreiere
Ruckfuhrung auf sudliche Vorbilder. Sie begegnen im IV. Schachtgrab
11 Werner a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 293ff.; Hachmann a.a.O. (Anm. 1); Bouzek a.a.O. (Anm. 1)
242ff.; Schickler a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 714ff.; J. Vladar, Slovenska Arch. 21, 1975, 297ff.
12 Agais: K. Mttller, Athen. Mitt. 34, 1909, 282ff.; G. Karo, Die Schachtgraber von
Mykenai (1930) Taf. LlXff.; Arch. Deltion 18B, 1963, Taf. 122, a; R. C. Bosanquet/R. M.
Dawkins, The Unpublished Objects from the Palaikastro Excavations. Annu. Brit. School
Athens Suppl. I (1923) 127f. Abb. 110 (SM III). — Orient: L. R. Woolley, Alalakh (1955)
Taf. LXXVII; LXXVIII, a; R. D. Barnett, The Nimrud Ivories in the British Museum
(1957) 229 Nr. X 1 Taf. CXXIV; S. 230 Nr. X) Abb. 92; R. M. Boehmer, Die Kleinfunde
von Bogazkoy (1972) 193f. Nr. 2003; S. 195 Nr. 2019 (mit Lit.).
13 A. Mozsolics, Acta Arch. Hung. 3, 1953, 69ff.; dies., ebd. 12, 1960, 125ff.; G. Bandi,
Arch. Ertesito 90, 1963, 46ff. — Eine bodenstandige Entwicklung dagegen postuliert H.-G.
Huttel, a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 66ff.; ders., in: Sudosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v.Chr. (1982)
39ff. ; ders., Jahresbericht Inst, fur Vorgeschichte Frankfurt 1977, 65ff.
von Mykenai, wahrend kleinasiatische Parallelen bislang fehlen. 14 Dies
muB aber aus den eben geschilderten Griinden nicht unbedingt schwer
wiegen. Vielmehr gilt es grundsatzlich die hohe Entwicklung von
Pferdezucht und Streitwagenwesen in Anatolien ebenso zu bedenken wie
die Tatsache, daB die mykenische Kultur wahrend des spateren 2.
Jahrtausends Pferdegeschirrformen aus dem anatolisch-hethitischen Raum
ubernimmt. 15 Eine kleinasiatische Komponente neben der rein mykeni-
schen scheint uns daher nach wie vor moglich. Einzelne Denkmaler wie
die Statuette aus Schernen, 16 an deren siidostanatolisch-nordsyrischer
Herkunft kaum zu zweifeln ist, scheinen durchaus in die gleiche Richtung
Zieht man eine kurze Zwischenbilanz, so bestatigt sich die eingangs
ausgesprochene Feststellung, daB die balkanisch-ostmediterranen Bezie-
hungen vor allem im Ausstattungsluxus gesellschaftlich hoch rangierender
Bevolkerungsschichten deutlich werden: Goldarbeiten, Prunkwaffen,
Pferdegeschirr — all dies weist auf den gleichen sozialen Kontext.
Die Toreutik des Hajdusamson-Horizontes
Wenn nun zur Zeit der deutlich ausgepragten Siidostkontakte auf dem
Balkan eine eigenstandige Toreutik entsteht, so erhebt sich zwangslaufig
die Frage nach der Genese dieses Zweiges balkanischen Kunsthandwerks.
Sie erhebt sich umso brennender, als zur gleichen Zeit Importe minoisch-
mykenischen Metallgeschirrs, wie geschildert, sich direkt oder indirekt in
Mitteleuropa nachweisen lassen. Die Verteilung des Quellenmaterials im
sudostlichen Mittelmeerraum ist hochst ungleichmaBig: So haben etwa die
reichen friihbronzezeitlichen Grabfunde aus Alaca Hiiyiik, aus Horoztepe
oder Maikop, wie auch die Hortfunde aus Troia im 2. Jahrtausend keine
Nachfolger gehabt." Veranderte Grabsitten haben im 2. Jahrtausend die
Uberlieferung fast vollstandig unterbrochen. Ein entgegengesetztes Bild
zeichnet sich in der Agais ab: Frvih- und mittelbronzezeitliche Metallge-
faBe sind selten; die Uberlieferung setzt mit einem breiten Formenspek-
14 Hiittel a.a.O. (Anra. 1) 35ff.; ders., in: Siidosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v.Chr.
54ff.; ders., Jahresbericht Inst, fur Vorgeschichte Frankfurt 1977, 65ff.
15 H. Matthaus, Arch. Korrbl. 7, 1977, 37ff. (mit Lit.); J. H. Crouwel, Chariots and other
Means of Land Transport in Bronze Age Greece (1981) lOlff.
16 J. Bouzek, PPS 38, 1972, 159 Taf. XIV unten; Hiller a.a.O. (Anm. 1) 16; zum Typus
vgl. O. Negbi, Canaanite Gods in Metal (1976) 8ff. — Fur ein Einwirken Anatoliens konnte
auch ein Fund wie der Eisendolch von Ganovce sprechen: J. Vladai, Slovenska Arch. 21,
1973, 293 Abb. 35; S. 321; ders., Die Dolche in der Slowakei. PBF VI 3 (1974) 41 Nr. 97
Taf. 4, 97; 12, A.
17 Ubersichtlich zusammcngestellt bei H. Miiller-Karpe, Handbuch der Vorgeschichte III
(1974) Taf. 310-317; 328; 334; 687.
92 HARTMUT MATTHAUS
trum erst in SM IA/SH I (d.h. im 16. Jahrhundert v. Chr.) ein: auf der
Insel Kreta durch Material aus Siedlungen, die wahrend SM I A und SM I
B ihr Ende erlebten, auf dem griechischen Festland durch die Beigaben
der Schachtgraber von Mykenai und anderer Beisetzungen, z.B. in
Peristeria. 18 Auf dem Balkan lassen sich dem nur zwei Fundgruppen des
Hajdusamson-Horizontes gegeniiberstellen: das Depot von Biia und ein
Depot aus dem ehemaligen Komitat Bihar; 19 der in seiner Deutung wie
Datierung umstrittene Schatz von Val&tran soil uns spater beschaftigen.
Im Depot von Biia lag ein einzelner goldener Kantharos (Abb. 5), etwa
5,5 cm hoch, 9 cm im Durchmesser und 144 gr schwer. 20 Ein
Abb. 5. Biia. Goldener Kantharos.
vergesellschafteter Armring erlaubt eine sichere Datierung in den
Hajdusarnson-Horizont. 21 Der Kantharos hat kugelige Form mit niedrigem,
abgeknicktem Rand. Die beiden uber die Mundung emporragenden
Bandhenkel wachsen direkt aus dem GefaBkorper heraus, sie sind aus
dem gleichen Blechstuck getrieben. Nach unten enden sie in antithetische
Spiralen, die auf der Wandung auflagen, ohne mit ihr vernietet zu sein.
Kantharoi zahlen auf dem Balkan natiirlich zu den lange tradierten und
popularen Keramikformen, so daB dieser GefaBtypus im Repertoire eines
Toreuten zunachst kaum uberrascht. Auf der anderen Seite gilt es zu
bedenken, daB Kantharoi aus Silber und Gold in der ersten Halfte des 2.
Jahrtausends im Mittelmeergebiet gut zu greifen sind: Kleine silberne
Kantharoi unterschiedlicher Gestalt waren Teil des Schatzes von Tod,
dessen kulturelle und zeithche Stellung noch diskutiert werden soil; 22
18 Davis a.a.O. (Anm. 4); Laffineur a.a.O. (Anm. 4); Matthaus a.a.O. (Anm. 1).
" Grundlegend: Mozsolics a.a.O. (Anm. 8) Iff.; vgl. ferner S. Gerloff, The Early Bronze
Age Daggers in Great Britain. PBF VI 2 (1975) 192ff.
20 Mozsolics a.a.O. (Anm. 8) 48 Taf. 10.
21 Ebd. Taf. 20; 21.
22 F. Bisson de la Roque / G. Contenau / F. Chapouthier, Le tresor de T6d (1953) Taf.
XVII; Davis a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 73ff. Abb. 52-54.
goldene Kantharoi zahlen zu den typischen Formen friihmykenischer
Toreutik. 23 Formal zeigen sie insgesamt wenig Ubereinstimmung mit dem
Stiick aus Biia, da die Proportionen von GefaBkorper zu Rand, auch
insgesamt von GefaBhohe zu Miindungsdurchmesser abweichen. Aller-
dings zeigt etwa ein Blick auf die Beispiele aus Tod, daB die
Kantharosform auch im gleichen Kulturmilieu erheblichen formalen
Schwankungen und Variationen unterworfen sein kann. Es ist jedoch ein
verbluffendes Detail, welches den Kantharos von Biia mit siidlichen
Vorbildern verkniipfen konnte: Spiralig eingerollte Enden schmucken auch
die Henkel eines goldenen Kantharos aus der Nahe von Kalamata. 2 "
Dieses GefaB diirfte durch den Vergleich mit dem Kantharos des IV.
Schachtgrabes von Mykenai in SH I datiert werden. DaB Spiralschmuck an
Henkeln von MetallgefaBen im Mykenischen haufiger war, als das
originate Fundmaterial dies jetzt erkennen laBt, deuten gemalte Spiralha-
ken auf gleichzeitigen TongefaBen an. 25
Insgesamt vier Goldtassen begegnen in dem Depot aus dem ehemaligen
Komitat Bihar. 26 Drei von ihnen sind sehr diinnwandige, ungefahr 10 cm
im Durchmesser messende, nur 50 bis 100 g schwere GefaBe. Das eine ist
eine kalottenformige Schale (Abb. 6), deren Wandung dichte senkrechte
Riefung tragt, die beiden anderen sind Tassen mit halbkugeligem,
gleichfalls senkrecht kanneliertem Unterteil und scharf abgesetztem
eingekehlten Rand (Abb. 7). Wie am Kantharos von Biia wachst ein —
hier sehr schmaler — Bandhenkel unmittelbar aus dem GefaBrand hervor;
sein Ende ist nicht auf der Wandung vernietet. Fur die GefaBformen gibt
es in der Agais kaum treffende Parallelen: Kalottenschalen sind im
Kretisch-mykenischen auBerst selten; scharf geknickte Tassen fehlen.
Allenfalls eine Tasse aus Aigina zeigt ahnliche allgemeine Gliederungs-
prinzipien, doch weichen Proportionen, Boden- und Henkelbildung ab. 27
Vielmehr scheint die Tassenform einheimisch-balkanischer Herkunft, da
Parallelbildungen, meist etwas weicher profiliert, zum Repertoire der
Fuzesabony-Keramik und verwandter Gruppen zahlen. 28 So sind es eher
Eigentumlichkeiten des Dekors und der Technik, die vielleicht siidhche
23 Laffineur a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 29ff. (mit Lit.); Davis a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 175f. Nr. 60 Abb.
143; S. 305ff. Nr. 134 Abb. 248; 249; S. 324ff. Nr. 147; 148 Abb. 263-265; G. E. Korres,
Praktika Athen 1976, 498 Abb. 8 Taf. 263, a.b.
u Davis a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 305ff. Nr. 134 Abb. 248; 249; J. Hawkes, The Dawn of the
Gods (1968) Taf. 24.
25 z.B. G. E. Mylonas, Ho taphikos kyklos B ton Mykenon (1972) Taf. 50, c; 213, a; 227
oben links; 232 oben links.
26 Mozsolics a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 56f. Taf. 4-10.
27 Davis a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 321ff. Nr. 145 Abb. 260; 261; zuletzt: R. Higgins, The Aegina
Treasure (1979) 40 Abb. 42; 43.
28 z.B. Bona a.a.O. (Anm. 1) Taf. 24, 10; 29, 8; 31; 38, 3; 56, 7; 106, 6; 160, 5.
Abb. 6. Bihar, Goldene Kalottenschale, Seitenansicht und Boden
Abb. 7. Bihar. Goldene Tasse
Abb. 8. Bihar. Schwere goldene Tasse.
Die dichte senkrechte Kannelur schlieBt die GefaBe aus Bihar deutlich
zusammen. Derartiges findet sich nur vereinzelt an mykenischen Gold-
und Silberbechern, 29 haufiger (und friiher) dagegen im Schatz von Tod. 30
Gerade die senkrechte, gelegentlich tordierte Kannelur zeichnet die
meisten der einfachen Silberschalen dieses Fundes aus.
Bemerkenswert ist die Bodenbildung der Kalottenschale aus Bihar
(Abb. 6): ihre Standflache wird durch mehrere konzentrisch herausgetrie-
bene Standringe gebildet. 31 Bodenkonstruktionen dieser Art sind unzwei-
29 Davis a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 125ff. Nr. 25-28 Abb. 98-104; Mylonas a.a.O. (Anra. 25) Taf.
58; 101, b; 152.
30 Bisson de la Roque/Contenau/Chapouthier a.a.O. (Anm. 22) Taf. XVIII -XXXVIII.
31 Mozsolics a.a.O. (Anm. 8) Taf. 7.
Vorstufen der Bodenmuster, welche viele der Tod-Schalen tragen, z.B.
Rosetten oder Kreuzmuster. 50
Ein anderes Kennzeichen mancher GefaBe des Schatzfundes sind die
oben schon kurz angesprochenen konzentrisch getriebenen Standringe, wie
sie sich spater in der Agais gleich falls nachweisen lassen. Sie begegnen
erstmals in der westanatolischen Friihbronzezeit, z.B. in Troia II. S1
Henkel, welche aus einem Blech mit dem GefaBkorper getrieben sind,
d.h. aus dem GefaBkorper direkt herauswachsen, ohne genietet zu
werden, sind gleichfalls in Alaca und Horoztepe nachweisbar. 52 DaB
schlieBlich selbst der Typus des Vaphio-Henkels, 53 d.h. die Form eines aus
zwei waagerechten Metallbandern bestehenden Griffes, welche durch eine
kraftige gegossene senkrechte Spule verbunden werden, vermutlich nicht
in der Agais, sondern in Kleinasien zu Hause ist, hat E. N. Davis vor
einigen Jahren zu begriinden versucht. 54 Sie verwies auf spulenartige
Griffabschlusse kupferner Pfannen aus der Troas, 55 und sie machte
schlieBlich auf ein TongefaB aus Kiiltepe aufmerksam, 56 das anscheinend in
etwas reduzierter Weise einen Vaphio-Henkel in das Material Ton
umgeformt, erkenneo laBt. Die friihesten Belege fur agaische Vaphio-
Henkel sind spater. 57 Nimmt man hinzu, daB die wenigen Beispiele
mittelminoischer Toreutik formal wie technisch durchaus anatolisch-
orientalische Einflusse spiiren lassen, so mochte man die Entstehung des
Henkeltyps eher in Kleinasien suchen. Damit entfiele zugleich das
wesenthchste Argument fur eine Herleitung des Schatzes von Tod aus
Die These anatolischer Herkunft kann sich dagegen sowohl auf formate
Entsprechungen mittelbronzezeitlicher Keramik wie auch altere Vorstufen
im Metallhandwerk stiitzen, welche Parallelen zu GefaBformen, techni-
schen Details und Eigenheiten des Dekors bieten. Wunschenswert ware
naturlich ein Vergleich mit originalen westanatolischen Metallarbeiten.
Diese jedoch fehlen in Kleinasien. Die schon angesprochenen Verande-
rungen der Grabbrauche fuhren zu einer fast vollstandigen Unterbrechung
Hoyiik 1937-1939 (1951) Taf. CXXXII; CLXXVI; CLXXVII; Illustrated London News
28.11.1959, 754 Abb. 9; 10; E. Akurgal, Die Kunst der Hethiter (1961) Farbtaf. V; VI
unten; Taf. 14; 15; 17 unten.
50 Akurgal a.a.O. (Anm. 49) Taf. 15 unten.
51 K. Bittel, Jahrb. DAI 74, 1959, 6 Abb. 1; 2; S. 7 Abb. 3.
52 Vgl. oben Anm. 36.
53 Bisson de la Roque/Contenau/Chapouthier a.a.O. (Anm. 22) Taf. XXXI unten rechts.
54 Davis a.a.O. (Anm. 4) 71ff.; vgl. Matthaus a.a.O. (Anni. 1) 249f.
55 Bittel a.a.O. (Anm. 51) 6f. Abb. 1-6; S. 13 Abb. 26.
56 T. u. N. Ozgiic, Ausgrabungen in Kiiltepe 1949 (1953) Taf. 48, 419.
57 Altestes Beispiel ist ein Tonhenkel aus Knossos (MM III): A. J. Evans, The Palace of
Minos at Knossos I (1921) 245 Abb. 183, bl; III (1930) 178 Abb. 121; Matthaus a.a.O.
(Anm. 1) 249 Taf. 76, 5; allgemeine Literatur zu Vaphiobechern vgl. oben Anm. 4.
100 HARTMUT MATTHAUS
Erwahnt sei an dieser Stelle, da8 B. J. Kemp und R. Merrillees jiingst
eine Revision der Baugeschichte des Montu-Tempels von Tod versucht
haben, die aber ganzlich im Hypothetischen blieb. 58 Sie zweifelten vor
allem, daB die Kupferkasten, welche den Schatz enthielten, wirklich in
Fundamenten lagen, die aus dem Mittleren Reich stammten, sondern
strebten eine Hinaufdatierung in das Neue Reich, das 16. oder 15.
Jahrhundert v. Chi., an, was ihrer Meinung nach besser zu den
architektonischen Charakteristika passen wurde. Dem widersprechen
neben den Inschriften der Kupferkasten — man muBte sonst eine
Zweitverwendung annehmen — vor allem die mitgefundenen vorderasiati-
schen Rollsiegel, die zeitlich nicht uber das friihe 2. Jahrtausend
herunterreichen, und es widersprechen dem die hier aufgezeigten, kurz
skizzierten Beziehungen zu anatolischen toreutischen Prototypen des 3.
Jahrtausends v. Chr. Der Schatz von Tod reprasentiert in seinen
EdelmetallgefaBen eindeutig eine Entwicklungsstufe, welche alter ist als
jene der Schachtgraber von Mykenai im 16. Jahrhundert v. Chr.
Der Schatz von Valcitran
Im Zusammenhang mit der friihen balkanischen Toreutik wurde immer
wieder ein exceptioneller, bis heute in der Datierung umstrittener
Schatzfund, das Depot von Val&tran, diskutiert. 59 1924 in der Nahe des
Dorfes Valditran (bei Pleven) entdeckt, wurde er unmittelbar nach der
Auffindung als fruhmittelalterlich klassifiziert. Diese Einordnung erwies
sich schon bald als unhaltbar." I. Andriesescu datierte den Schatz 1925 in
mykenische Zeit, 61 Paul Reinecke im gleichen Jahr in die Zeit um 700 v.
Chr. 62 Und zwischen diesen beiden Extremen bewegt sich die Diskussion
bis heute. Eine Reihe on Gelehrten — V. Mikov, dem wir die endgultige
monographische Vorlage verdanken, 63 M. GaraSanin, 64 A. G. Bonev, 65 J.
Bouzek 66 — weisen den Fund der Periode zwischen dem spate n 2. und
58 B. J. Kemp/R. S. Merrillees, Minoan Pottery in Second Millennium Egypt (1980) 290ff.
59 Grundlegende Publikation: V. Mikov, Le tresor d'or de Valcitran (1958); letzte
Behandlung (mit Lit.): V. Pingel a.a.O. (Anm. 47) 173ff.; erganze an neueren Arbeiten: A.
G. Bonev, Archeologia Sofia 19/4, 1977, llff.; ders., ebd. 25/1-2, 1983, 44ff.; L. Ognenova-
Marinova, Pulpudeva 2, 1978, 240ff.; Gold der Thraker (Ausstellungskatalog Koln 1980)
70ff.; R. F. Hoddinott, The Thracians (1981) 38f.
60 Dazu bereits Ebert, Reallexikon der Vorgeschichte XTV (1929) 227ff. s.v. Vfclci TrM
61 I. Andrie$escu, Acad. Romana Mem. Sectiunii Istorice Ser. Ill Bd. 5 Mem. 2, 1925,
82 P. Reinecke, Germania 9, 1925, 50ff.
63 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59).
M M. V. Garasanin, in: Studia in bonorem V. Besevliev (1978) 284ff.
65 Vgl. die Anm. 59 zitierten Arbeiten von Bonev.
w J. Bouzek, Jahresbericht Inst, fur Vorgeschichte Frankfurt 1977, 112ft.
dem beginnenden 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr. zu. Andere, wie A. Mozsolics 67
und zuletzt ausfuhrlich V. Pingel, 68 denken dagegen an eine friihmykeni-
sche, wenn nicht gar vormykenische Entstehungszeit.
Die Objekte des Schatzes sind in mehr als einer Hinsicht einmalig. Das
Gesamtgewicht der Goldgegenstande (Abb. 9) betragt rund 12 kg. 69
Herausragendes Fundstuck ist ein 4,4 kg schwerer, aus dickem Goldblech
Abb. 9. Der Schatz von ValCitran
getriebener Kantharos. Es ist das vermutlich schwerste bekannte
EdelmetallgefaB der Alten Welt. Hinzu kommen ein groBer Henkelbecher
(919 g), drei kleine Omphalosschalen mit Schlaufenhenkel (jeweils ca.
120—130 g), ein DrillingsgefaB und sieben Goldscheiben mit profilierten,
fiber einem Bronzekern getriebenen Knaufen; zwei von ihnen sind mit
Silber tauschiert. Schon vom Technischen her setzen die GefaBe eine
lange erprobte toreutische Tradition voraus. Die Stiicke entstanden sicher
in einer einzigen Werkstatt, wie Formahnlichkeiten und ubereinstimmende
Details erkennen lassen. Ein Teil der GefaBe, so vor allem der uber 10
Liter fassende, in gefuUtem Zustand nicht mehr zu bewegende Kantharos
und auch das DrillingsgefaB waren fur praktischen Gebrauch nicht
geeignet. Der gesamte Fundkomplex muB vermutlich unter kultisch-
religiosen Aspekten gesehen werden.
Die Verfechter einer Friihdatierung, so zuletzt V. Pingel, haben den
Schatz einmal als Gesamtensemble im Zusammenhang mit den reichen
Edelmetallfunden des 2. Jahrtausends v. Chr., von Tod bis Mykenai, aber
auch Bihar, gesehen — ein naturgemaB sehr allgemeines Argument; 70 zum
67 Mozsolics a.a.O. (Anm. 8) lOff. 55f.; Friihdatietungen auch bei Popovitch a.a.O.
(Anm. 44) und Seyrig a.a.O. (Anm. 44).
M Pingel a.a.O. (Anm. 47).
m Zu Mafien und Gewicht der Stiicke vgl. den griindlichen Katalog von Mikov a.a.O.
70 Pingel a.a.O. (Anm. 47) 180ff.
anderen versuchten sie durch Einzelvergleiche mit GefaBen aus dem
Schatz von Tod oder aus den Schachtgrabern von Mykenai GefaBformen
und Ornamente naher zu parallelisieren.
Die Wandung des DrillingsgefaBes ist waagerecht kanneliert, den
Ansatz des Handgriffes umgibt an jedem Schalchen eine Gruppe
getriebener Halbkreise. 71 Hierfiir meinte man Entsprechungen an einer
Silberschale aus Tod zu finden. 72 Doch wahrend in Valcitran die
Halbkreise lediglich durch die Ansatze des Griffes motiviert werden, ist es
an der Schale aus Tod ein Fries groBer hangender Halbkreise, denen
gegeniiber die verbindende waagerechte Kannelur deutlich zurucktritt.
Kurz, die Struktur des Ornaments ist eine andere. Eine weitere
Ubereinstimmung schien das in Silber eingelegte Wellenband zweier
Goldscheiben 73 zu finden: einige Schalen des Schatzes von Tod zeigen eine
vergroberte Version eines ahnlichen Wellenbandes. 74 Doch ist dies
keineswegs die einzige Parallele: Wellen dieser Art begegnen auch am
Knauf eines Schwertes aus dem Graberring B von Mykenai, 75 und wir
werden unten noch auf spatere Entsprechungen hinweisen.
Die HenkelgefaBe von Valcitran verband man mit den Goldtassen aus
Bihar. 76 Die Henkel der Valcitran-GefaBe wachsen ahnlich aus dem
GefaBrand hervor, sind jedoch unten mit dem Korper vernietet. Auch
bietet die Henkelgliederung durch Langsrippen in Valcitran offensichtlich
etwas Neues. Besser scheint es um die Bodenbildung zu stehen: auch in
Valcitran kommen getriebene Standringe vor. 77 Die GefaBformen selbst
erlauben keinen unmittelbaren Vergleich mit fruhem balkanischen
Material oder gar Funden der Schachtgraber von Mykenai, auch nicht mit
Tod. Selbst der Kantharos (Abb. 10) hebt sich nicht nur durch seine
GroBe und sein Gewicht, sondern auch durch seine Proportionen und die
rundliche Profilierung von alien MetallgefaBen des 2. Jahrtausends v. Chr.
ab. 78 Die einzige wirkliche Parallele bildet ein kleinerer 1974 bei
Kryzhovlin (Umgebung von Odessa) durch Zufall entdeckter, 765 g
schwerer Goldkantharos (Abb. 11) von identischer Kdrperform, Boden-
und Henkelbildung. 79 Dieser Neufund beweist zugleich, daB die merkwiir-
71 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59) 15 Abb. 7; 8 Taf. XXIII-XXV.
72 Bisson de la Roque/Contenau/Chapouthier a.a.O. (Anm. 22) Taf. XVIII Mitte.
73 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59) Taf. XII-XVII.
" Bisson de la Roque/Contenau/Chapouthier a.a.O. (Anm. 22) Taf. XXXI oben rechts;
XXXII Mitte; XXXIV links.
75 Mylonas a.a.O. (Anm. 25) Taf. 68.
76 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59) 10 Abb. 3; 4 Taf. VI-XI; zu Bihar vgl. Anm. 26.
77 Dazu vgl. oben die Bemerkungen zur fruhen balkanischen Toreutik; angemerkt sei
jedoch, daB sich solche Standringe in Mitteleuropa bis in die friihe Eisenzeit halten: C.
Schuchhardt, Der Goldfund vom Messingwerk bei Eberswalde (1914) Taf. VI; VII.
78 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59) 9 Abb. 2 Taf. III-V.
79 G. A. Dzis-Rayko/I. T. Chernyakov, Sovjetskaja Arheologija 1981/1, 151ff. — Fur eine
Abb. 10. Valcitran. Goldener Kantharos
dig nach auBen gedriickten Henkel des Valcitran- Kantharos auf Beschadi-
gung durch Erddruck beruhen. Sie miissen, wie an dem Beispiel aus
Kryzhovlin, senkrecht uber die Mundung emporgezogen erganzt werden.
Leider ist die neue Parallele nicht datierbar. Nimmt man die Argumente
zusammen, so sind es letztlich nur allgemeine Vergleiche zu den
Ornamentformen, welche die Verfasser einer Fruhdatierung ins Feld
fuhren konnen. Der Hinweis auf das Gesamtensemble, d.h. der Vergleich
mit friihen Gruppen von EdelmetallgefaBen, hat natiirlich keine
datierende Kraft. Aufgrund dieses Argumentes konnte man auch eine
Niederlegung wahrend der Volkerwanderungszeit begriinden.
Die Zweifel, die sich einstellen, wenn man die Argumente fur eine
Fruhdatierung unter die Lupe nimmt, mehren sich noch, stellt man dem
die Hinweise gegeniiber, welche einen sehr viel spateren Ansatz zu stutzen
Zum Schlingenornament der tauschierten Scheiben oder Deckel — die
Deutung der Gerate bleibt offen — lassen sich sowohl spatbronzezeitliche
Metallarbeiten — Bronzeplatte aus dem Hort von Gad 80 — wie auch
vergleichbare natiirlich vergroberte Dekorationsmotive auf alterer hall-
stattzeitlicher balkanischer Keramik — z.B. der Cepina-Gruppe —
Die Kantharos-Form ist auf dem Balkan mehr oder minder zeitlos. Man
gewinnt jedoch den Eindruck, daB Tonkantharoi des fruhen 1.
Ubersetzung des Artikels bin ich B. und R. F. Hoddinott zu auBerordentlichem Dank
80 Dacia 9, 1965, 113 Abb. 5, 11; M. Petrescu-Dimbovija, Die Sicheln in Rumanien. PBF
XVIII 1 (1978) Taf. 100, B 15.
81 z.B. B. Hansel, Beit rage zur regionalen und chronologischen Gliederung der alteren
Hallstattzeit an der unteren Donau (1976) Taf. 76, 3; 77, 5; XVII 22.
Jahrtausends in ihrer gerundeten Form mit abgesetztem, matJig hohem
Rand dem Stiick aus Valcitran am ehesten ahneln. 82 Es gibt sogar einige
Hinweise, daB Metallkantharoi, wenngleich sehr viel kleineren Formates,
in der Spatbronzezeit noch hergestellt wurden; als Beleg sei nur an die
GuBform aus dem Depot von Pobit Kamak erinnert. 83 Diese Hinweise auf
eine mogliche spate, freilich kaum prazisierbare Entstehung verstarken
sich noch, wenn man den Blick nach Suden, nach Griechenland, richtet.
Gerade die attische spatgeometrische Keramik kennt Kantharoi ahnlicher
Proportion, 84 welche gut in den allgemeinen zeitlichen Rahmen passen
wurden. Zugleich mag sie die Mannigfaltigkeit, typologisch kaum naher
einzuengende Vielfalt der Kantharosformen auf dem Balkan und in der
Der Hinweis auf griechische GefaBtypen erfolgte hier nicht willkurlich,
denn man kann vielleicht eine Fundgruppe des Schatzes von Valditran am
ehesten durch siidliche Anregungen erklarcn: die Knaufscheiben, die am
ehesten groBen Deckeln ahneln, vielleicht auch diese Funktion wirklich
besaBen. 85 Die ProfiUerung der Knaufe erinnert am ehesten an
Deckelknaufe griechischer Keramik der geometrischen und orientalisieren-
den Stufe. 86 Auf diese mogliche Abhangigkeit hat zuerst J. Bouzek
Das wichtigste Argument fur eine Spatdatierung bieten jedoch die
SchlaufentaBchen (Abb. 12) mit kanneliertem Rand und Omphalos. 88
Ahnliche Formen begegnen in der kannelierten Keramik Munteniens,
teilweise auch in Bulgarien (z.B. in Gigen; Abb. 13); diese TaBchen halten
sich bis in die Basarabi-Kultur hinein. 89
Angesichts dieses Zusammenklanges von Parallelen zu den GefaBfor-
men, Entsprechungen zu den Ornamenten, vielleicht auch Analogien zu
den Knaufscheiben scheint einer Datierung des Schatzfundes von Valcitran
in das friihe 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr. (vielleicht um 800 v. Chr.) die groBte
82 Ebd. Taf. 36, 5; 61, 9; 70, 6.
83 Ebd. Taf. 2, 1.
84 z.B. Jahrb. DAI 74, 1959, 61 Abb. 2; 3; CVA CVA Copenhague 2 Taf. 73,5; J.
Boardman/J. D6rig/W. Fuchs/M. Winner, Die griechische Kunst (1966) Taf. 52 unten; K.
Kubler, Kerameikos V 1 (1954) Taf. 85; 86; 88 oben links; J. N. Coldstream, Greek
Geometric Pottery (1968) Taf. 4, d; ders., Geometric Greece (1977) 112 Abb. 34, c.
85 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59) 12f. Abb. 5; 6 Taf. XII-XXII.
86 P. Jacobsthal, Greek Pins (1956) Abb. 156-172.
87 Bouzek a.a.O. (Anm. 66) 116.
88 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59) 10 Abb. 4 Taf. IX-XI.
89 Mikov a.a.O. (Anm. 59) 29ff. Abb. 16-19; Hansel a.a.O. (Anm. 81) 180 (ebd. 44
Anm. 126 datiert Hansel den Fund von Valcitran gleichfalls in die altere Hallstattzeit); G.
Tonceva, Chronologie du Hallstatt Ancien dans la Bulgarie de Nord-Est. Studia Thracica 5
(1980) 38f. Taf. X.
Abb. 12. ValCitran. Goldener Omphalosschale
Abb. 13. Gigen. Omphalosschale aus Ton
Wahrscheinlichkeit inne zu wohnen. DaB unter Umstanden mit griechi-
schen Einfliissen dabei zu rechnen sei, wiirde einen interessanten Aspekt
bieten. Mit der friihen Toreutik der Hajdusamson-Zeit, die wir in ihren
Abhangigkeiten von sudostlichen Vorbildern zu verfolgen suchten, hat der
Schatz von VSl&tran sicher nichts zu tun. Er konnte allenfalls als Indiz
einer — auch durch das Depot von Pobit Kamak angedeuteten —
ungebrochenen toreutischen Tradition im balkanischen Raum gelten.
METAL VESSELS IN BRONZE AGE EUROPE
AND THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN*
ANDREW SHERRATT and TIMOTHY TAYLOR
Metal vessels and their social setting in Bronze Age Europe
One of the recurring themes of Bronze Age archaeology is the occurrence
of drinking equipment. This theme was present from its very inception:
the beginning of the Bronze Age in the Aegean (Renfrew 1972) is defined
by the arrival of a pottery assemblage containing handled jugs and cups
(with good prototypes in metal), while contemporary third millennium
cultures further north are distinguished by "globular amphorae", "corded
ware beakers" and "bell beakers". All of these testify to a new interest in
the social uses of alcohol — whether mead, beer, koumiss or wine —
which was to continue throughout later prehistory, and is presumably
related to the importance of hospitality and competitive feasting in Bronze
Age society: a ritualised practice of communal drinking that was to
emerge in the literary record of Archaic and Classical Greek times as the
Throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages, the style of such entertainment
in Europe was set by Aegean practice — a land of exotic fruits, wine and
sunshine, and also the most advanced area in terms of economy and
technology. Basic to this style was the use of metal — especially precious
metal vessels, which were frequently copied in pottery. This theme can be
traced from the treasures of Troy II, through the Shaft Graves of
Mycenae, to the metal prototypes that lie behind the typological
proliferation of Archaic and Classical Greek vases. The set of mixing,
serving and drinking vessels define a "wine ceremony" whose ritual and
social significance may be compared with that of the oriental "tea
ceremony" and the appropriate set of equipment which accompanied its
diffusion in eighteenth century Europe.
Europe beyond the Mediterranean initially lacked both the practice of
viticulture and the technological expertise for making metal vessels. The
spread of wine, first by large-scale import and then by local production, is
a story that belongs to the later first millennium BC. Nevertheless the
* The authors would like to thank Professor I. Venedikov, Dr. G. Lazov (Sofia), Dr.
Alexandar Minchev (Varna), Dr. P. R. S. Moorey, Mr. Michael Vickers, Miss Nancy
Sandars and Dr. Sysan Sherratt (Oxford).
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 107
style of temperate European drinking equipment in the second and early
first millennia owed much to Mediterranean models; and the technological
development of European sheet-metal industries can usefully be
considered in the light of this relationship. The three maps which
accompany this article are an attempt to chart the spread of sheet
metalworking techniques as applied to the manufacture of drinking
vessels; and although presented only as summary sketches, they effectively
demonstrate a zonation of technological sophistication and a progressive
northwards spread of technical capability. These patterns are useful both
as illustrations of the socio-economic context of European metalworking,
and as a means of defining possible areas of origin for the often enigmatic
and unaccompanied examples of Bronze Age goldwork. They provide a
necessary background to the interpretation of the Treasure of Vulchetrun
(or at least a part of it) and the other recently discovered pieces related to
it that form the subject of this paper (see now also Vulpe and Mihailescu-
The use both of copper and gold has a long history in Europe before
the beginning of the Bronze Age. Although the manufacture of sheet
bronze did not appear in temperate Europe until the Late Bronze Age in
the later second millennium, beaten goldwork was already present in the
Copper Age and was extensively represented by the time of the Varna
cemetery (c. 4000 BC), even in quite large pieces. Significantly, however,
it was not made into vessels — although it was in fact applied in powdered
form as a paint in the manner of contemporary graphite-painting on large,
open bowls. Sheet-metal vessels first appeared in southern Europe at the
same time as the first evidence for the production of wine in the Early
Bronze Age, as part of the life-style of a new elite.
The initial use of sheet-metal for vessels had taken place in the urban
craft centres of fourth millennium Mesopotamia and neighbouring areas in
the Uruk period, and used for spouted bowls in the succeeding
protoliterate period (e.g. at Tepe Gawra), although the first extensive
sample of the products of this technology comes from Early Dynastic
tombs such as the royal cemetery at Ur. By this time the technology was
also represented in adjacent areas, for instance at Alaca Hiiyiik and Troy
where both gold, silver and copper- alloy sheet-metalwork occur. Such
products were at this date closely related to the existence of craft
workshops in palaces or early urban centres, which were also capable of
using other advanced goldworking techniques such as filigree or
granulation. Beaten gold and silver vessels slowly made their appearance
among the "barbarian" societies of temperate Europe during the second
millennium, but it was another eight hundred years before their Late
Bronze Age successors acquired the techniques of sheet bronzework for
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
vessels and armour, which had continued to be restricted to the palace
workshops of the Aegean.
This disparity reflects two factors. In the first place, there is the
technological aspect: the malleability of gold makes the manufacture of
sheet and the raising of vessel shapes much easier than with bronze, whose
brittleness requires constant annealing. Secondly the attractiveness,
incorruptibility and scarceness of gold made it a natural first choice of a
restricted elite, perhaps anxious that their sumptuary prerogative should
not be diluted by the greater availability of comparable forms in baser
metal. A similar sequence can be seen underlying the succession from
precious metal to bronze coinages in the first millennium BC, and a
similar principle is evident in the trend from highly decorated, individual
weapons to more uniform, mass produced ones within the Bronze Age
The technological history of Europe (Fig. 1) during this period thus
reflects the social background of a rising, and broadening, elite that set
ATLANTIC EUROPE CENTRAL EUROPE CARPATHIAN BASIN AEGEAN AREA
EAST MEDITERRANEAN MESOPOTAMIA 5 IRAN
[[ATLANTIC LBA j[«— |lATE
[aTLANTIC EB AJ* [TUMULUS V ■
UNETICE CUPS* | 0T0MANl|«-— (T}--FmM CRETE ||. *£bYR
[ VU LCHETRUN X^y j| MYCENAE SHAFT GRAVES [ ]
J_ . L
||_CVPRn-T.F L VA.NTINE ElTj ]
ugarit~|| |n.k. egypt]]
BIOS ROYAL TOMBS
> Transmission of techniques
> Probable transmission of techniques
> Stylistic influence
H TROY If Precious metal and copper alloy vessels
1 0TQMAN1 ] precious metal vessels only
BADEN Skeuomorph s of metal vessels in pottery
(BEAKER) Other drinking vessel
(Dates in calibrated C14 years BC)
M) skeuomorphic strap- handles,
Q2) simple pold cups
vessels; conical rivets
Mj sheet bronze-working
Fig. 1. The spread of technologies of metal vessel production
and maintained its style by reference to more sophisticated Mediterranean
neighbours, from whom it occasionally imported finished models and
absorbed techniques. These styles were set by wine-drinking, semi-
urbanised communities in the Aegean, (which were themselves on the
fringe of more sophisticated societies in the Near East). Unable to import
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN
the substance — since wine was difficult to transport in bulk with Bronze
Age organisation and technological capacities — the inhabitants of
temperate Europe attempted to imitate the style; and many rustic brews
must have been drunk from gold and silver vessels originally inspired by
Commentary on the Maps
Stage I: 3000-2000 BC (calibrated radiocarbon years)
During the third millennium the only area of Europe to manufacture
metal vessels was the Aegean, which lay at the western end of a belt of
urbanising societies in contact with Mesopotamia. The Ur royal graves
illustrate the skill of metropolitan craftsmen, while neighbouring areas
show distinctive styles: decorated with animal figures in the Caucasus and
Iran, or with plentiful channelling and fluting in central Anatolia — as
shown both by the gold vessels of Alaca Hiiyiik and the EB 2 pottery of
Beycesultan. Egypt's skill in sheet goldwork (even gold leaf) is well
known, though surprisingly few gold vessels have escaped the tomb-
robbers to place alongside the plentiful copper examples from royal and
aristocratic tombs. (For examples of Near Eastern metalwork see
illustrations in Piggott 1961.)
These areas shared a common basic technology that was capable of
producing sheet-metal gold, silver and copper-alloy vessels (though some
of the last were still produced by solid-casting). The westernmost
assemblage demonstrating the whole of this range of competence is that
represented by the seventeen vessels (two-thirds of silver, the rest either
of electrum, or copper alloy) from Treasures A, B and S from Troy II,
and other hoards from the Troad (Schmidt 1902; Bittel 1959); but precious
metal vessels were also made on the other side of the Aegean, under
strong West Anatolian influence. Examples include gold vessels in the local
"sauceboat" shape, that were probably made in craft workshops attached
to fortified centres such as Lerna, as well as small silver bowls in the
Cyclades, and the possibly imported gold bowls from Euboia (Renfrew
1972; Buchholz & Karageorghis No. s 1072-1082). Even so, Helladic
goldwork was simpler than that from western Anatolia: the sauceboats
have riveted strap handles rather than tubular ones like the two-handled
cups (depata) from Troy (Childe 1924).
The appearance of tubular spouts on the pottery "teapot" vessels from
Early Minoan Crete is very suggestive of metal prototypes (known in
silver from the Levant in the next period) which may have been in bronze
or more likely in precious metal (Evans 1921, 79—82). The Cretan case
resembles that of the Levant itself in this period, when metal types can be
ANDKI U. MIIRKM'I AM) IIMOlin IA1HIK
inferred from the pottery but are not so far represented by finds of metal
objects. More generalised skeuomorphs of metal features occur in
northern Greece and as far north as the Carpathian Basin. High-flung
strap-handles and omphalos bases are characteristic of the Ezero and
Baden cultures (Kalicz J 963), which also have pottery examples of the
suspension-vase known in silver from the Troy treasure. Since there are no
'proto-palaces' of the Lerna type in this area, it is unlikely that metal
prototypes would have been locally manufactured: probably, rare
examples circulated from further south. This is also likely to be the
explanation for the very rare metal-derived shapes in pottery from TRB
and related contexts further north, in Bavaria at Lengfeld-Alkofen
(Christlein 1976 fig. 13.1), and — more surprisingly — at Oldendorf (Kr.
Liineburg) in northern Germany (Sprockhoff 1952; Milojcic 1953). These
postulated examples of metal vessels circulating outside their zone of
manufacture would interestingly prefigure the route over which techniques
of local production were to spread in the following millennium.
Stage II: 2000-1300 BC
This span of time encompasses a series of changes, which for convenience
have been conflated within a single map. The undoubted presence of
precious metal vessels in the Near East is only sparsely represented in the
archaeological record, mainly because of the rarity of ostentatious royal
tombs. However, the geographically marginal site of Trialeti in the
Caucasus shows the complexity that goldwork could attain (Schaeffer 1948
figs. 288-292), and the numbers of bronze vessels from humbler tombs in
the Luristan region by the end of the period show that they were no
longer confined to a restricted elite. Although whole areas (including
potentially very important ones like western Anatolia) are still definable
only through pottery skeuomorphs, royal and aristocratic tombs in the
Aegean and the Levant provide good examples of contemporary products
in the east Mediterranean.
Among the earliest are the royal tombs at Byblos (Schaeffer 1948 fig.
63), with silver vessels — including a teapot — that resemble the massive
silver treasure from a temple context at Tod in upper Egypt, datable to
c. 2000 BC (Bisson de la Roque et al. 1953). This silverwork is either
Levantine or — conceivably — Cretan, where local production of silver
vessels is shown by the crinkly kantharos from Gournia and from
skeuomorphic representation in Kamares ware (Evans 1921, 191-3).
Cretan goldwork in a similar style is illustrated by the vessels of the
"Aegina" treasure, probably from northern Crete (Higgins 1979), while
further connections between Byblos and the Aegean are demonstrated by
THE CONTEXT OF VUL.CHETRUN 111
the occurrence in both areas of a type of carinated, two-handled cauldron
(Schaeffer 1948, fig. 78; cf Catling 1964, fig. 18, 5). These examples
illustrate the increasing links between various parts of the east
For the Aegean Late Bronze Age (Davis 1977) the best sample comes
from the sixteenth century Shaft Graves at Mycenae, which contain gold
vessels in both the Cretan tradition (cf the cups from Vaphio) and in
simpler shapes in the tradition of Middle Helladic pottery (e.g. the simple
two-handled cups). The development of this school of metalworking can
be followed at nearby Dendra where tholos- and chamber-tombs of the
fourteenth century have produced technically more advanced pieces,
giving evidence both of spinning in the manufacture of bowls, and of the
application to vessels of the kinds of black inlay previously used on
weapon-blades (Buchholz & Karageorghis 1973, No. s 1108, cf 1684).
Bronzework is particularly plentiful at this time, both on the mainland and
in Crete (Matthaus 1980), where a good example of a set of personal
drinking equipment comes from the warrior-burial in tomb 14 at Zapher
Papoura (Buchholz & Karageorghis 1973, fig. 33).
It is to this period that a bronze cup said to have been found at
Dohnsen north of Hannover (Sprockhoff 1961) can be attributed; and a
possible indication of a somewhat earlier metal vessel import from the
Aegean is the pottery pillar-handle (like those on the Vaphio cups) from
Nienhagen in Saxony (Gimbutas 1965, 58). While some doubt must attach
to both of these pieces (Harding 1985, 108), there is nothing inherently
improbable in such rare long-distance imports, which are paralleled in the
previous period at Oldendorf and by many instances in the first
In any case, the local production of precious metal (but not bronze)
vessels had already begun in central and western Europe. The earliest are
the gold vessels of the Hajdiisamson metalworking phase of the Otomani
culture in the Carpathian Basin, dating to 2000-1800 BC and preceding
the Shaft Grave period in Greece. The Otomani area provided an
advanced economic context (though not a palatial one) , with its stone-built
hillforts, skillful gold- and bronzework, and even experimental ironwork-
ing (Vladar 1973). Four one-handled gold cups or bowls, found in Co.
Bihar, Hungary in 192.2, have vertical channelling, and one has incised
compass-based ornament of the kind known from contemporary
bronzework (Mozsolics 1968, Tafeln 4-10). Probably slightly later is the
example from Biia (Magyarbenye) with repouss6 bosses and concentric
circles, and incised lines of dots (Moszolics 1968, Tafel 12). Like the Bihar
examples, the handles are formed of one piece with the rim of the vessel,
and are not attached at their lower end.
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
The double-spiral terminals of the two handles of the Biia vessel
resemble gold bracelets of c. 1600-1400 BC from Hungary. Probably of
similar date is a hoard of sheet-gold ornaments from §mig (Somogyom),
(Mozsolics 1968, Tafeln 13—16) associated with part of a globular bronze
bowl with a distinctive flat, outwards-rolled rim. As virtually the only
sheet-bronze vessel in Europe before the Urnfield period, this bowl is
likely to represent an import — even though it has no obvious
correspondence with contemporary Aegean types, and may well be an
import from the Caucasus or Anatolia.
The area between the Carpathian Basin and the Aegean was probably
capable of producing gold vessels by at least the middle of the second
millennium, and metallic 'kantharos' shapes in pottery (distantly related to
MH ones, though not wheelmade) strongly hint at their presence (Bona
1975). These shapes, especially the pottery of the Monteoru culture,
provide the best analogies for the simpler pieces in the Vulchetrun
treasure and related recent finds from Radeni and Kryzovlin that are
discussed below (Vulpe and Mihailescu-Birliba 1985). If Vulchetrun is not
a unity, as we suggest, then there is no difficulty in assigning these pieces
to such a horizon. It would be later that the Bihar vessels but perhaps
overlapping with the later products of the Otomani tradition. A postulated
contemporaneity with the goldwork of the Shaft Grave period would
accord well with the generalised similarities between these pieces and the
kantharoi from Shaft-grave IV of circle A and the one from Kalamata in
Messenia (Buchholz and Karageorghis 1973 No. 1086; Hartmann 1982 No.
4367). The gold vessels of the Vulchetrun group in the lower Danube and
west Pontic area, with their riveted handles and accurately-centred
profiles, are more confident and sophisticated pieces than the Otomani
examples; and some contact between goldsmiths working in the lower
Danube and those of early Mycenaean Greece is clearly shown by the
Persjnari dagger, with its close analogies to the sword from Shaft-grave
delta of circle B. The possibility of similar overseas connections with
Anatolia is hinted at by the crinkly kantharos shapes in pottery, recalling
the Shaft-grave and Cretan examples in silver and marble, which may have
a common background in Anatolian metalwork (as Childe suggested in
The next area with plentiful evidence of gold and silver vessels is
western Europe, with its small, handled cups with carinated or sinuous
profile. Their distribution ranges from Rillaton and Cuxwold in Britain to
Eschenz in Switzerland (Gerloff 1975; Bill and Kinnes 1975; Taylor 1980),
and they date to the period 1800-1400 BC. Although not directly
evidenced in the Unetice and Tumulus cultures that lay between here and
the Otomani examples, the characteristic Unetice pottery cup with its
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 113
sharp carination and concave upper section is closely paralleled by the
gold cup from Fritzdorf in the Rhineland (von Uslar 1955), which may
well have travelled there from the Unetice area. The small gold and silver
cups which are typical of later Breton and Wessex tumuli are echoed in
amber and shale examples (Gerloff 1975); and in Denmark in the tree-
trunk coffin burials there are small wooden cups ornamented with tin nails
(e.g. Glob 1970; the associated horn spoons recall the sheet-gold example
associated with the Ploumilliau gold cup: Eluere 1982). The two Breton
silver examples, St Adrien and St Fiacre (Briard 1978), are notable as the
first silver vessels known outside the Aegean. These small cups, in very
diverse materials and occurring over a very wide area, are nevertheless
remarkably uniform in conception; and the same idea was occasionally
translated into pottery, as in the case of the Scottish handled "food vessel"
This evidence demonstrates a chronological cline in the spread of
precious metal vessel production: crudely — Troy, Otomani, Wessex. In
each case the idea of metal vessels was added to a local competence in the
working of gold sheet (Copper Age in central Europe, Beaker in the
west), and a local repertoire of prestige drinking vessels in pottery. In
south-east Europe, rather larger and more sophisticated gold vessels were
produced than in the north-west. The capacity to produce gold and silver
vessels was not, however, paralleled by an ability to produce bronze ones,
even though smaller pieces of sheet bronzework were used for ornaments
in all these areas. The production of gold and silver vessels in this period
thus seems to have devolved from a skill available only in palace
workshops and craft centres to one more widely available to barbarian
elites. Its spread took the form of successive steps, with each new area
taking a general model from its predecessor but creating its own local
form, often widely shared among neighbouring elites. (These metal forms
probably explain some of the more widespread forms in pottery.)
Although there are possible examples of individual vessels travelling along
the northward axis from the Aegean, the process of technological spread
owed nothing to Mycenaean imports; it began before the Mycenaean
period and was to continue after it. Only the typology of certain pieces of
goldwork in the lower Danube area suggests some kind of contact,
probably during the Shaft Grave period.
Stage III: 1300-850 BC
This period corresponds to a time of fundamental transition in the
economic and social life of Europe and the Near East, as well as a major
technological shift from bronze to iron in the southern part of the area.
The new pattern well reflects the radical nature of these changes. Very
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
little goldwork, and no gold or silver vessels, are known from the Aegeo-
Anatolian area where Mycenaean and Hittite civilisation collapsed and in
which Geometric Greece and Phrygian Anatolia were emerging,
Somewhat greater continuity in elite craftsmanship is probable in the
Cypro-Levantine area (especially in the production of Egyptianising
bronze tripods in Cyprus: Catling 1964), but precious metalwork is only
well demonstrated in Egypt and northern Iran. In Egypt the important
hoard dated by inscriptions to the late XIX Dynasty from Tell Basta
(ancient Bubastis) includes a silver jug with gold theriomorphic handles
which strikingly anticipate Achaemenid forms (Simpson 1959). Further
east, the undoubted wealth of the Assyrian, Urartian and Babylonian
areas is best exemplified archaeologically from the site of Hasanlu in Iran,
though otherwise known from representations in Assyrian reliefs. (Many
of these features were to spread westwards with the orientalising
movement in the eighth and seventh centuries.) Goldwork from the
Marlik Tepe tombs included gold beakers with repousse animal friezes
(somewhat in the manner of the Ishtar Gate at Babylon) showing the links
between Achaemenid metalwork and earlier Mesopotamian and Iranian
traditions, and the continuity of (presumably) Bactrian gold sources.
Bronze objects, including vessels, are known from this time in enormous
numbers from looted Luristan tombs. The lack of precious metalwork in
the Aegean/Anatolian area is striking, but the continuing production of
sheet bronzework there indicates that metalsmiths were restricted by
supplies of precious metal rather than by any lack of skill: and if gold or
silver vessels were produced they were too valuable to consign to the
ground. Even the Gordion tombs are remarkable for their emphasis on
bronzework alone, much of it of the highest order.
In temperate Europe quite a different situation obtained. Metalwork,
both in bronze and gold, greatly expanded in the Late Bronze Age —
especially in the Urnfield area of central Europe. Here several hoards of
gold vessels are known (as well as more extraordinary sheet-gold
creations, like the golden "hats" of Schifferstadt and Ezelsdorf: Menghin
and Schauer 1977) and for the first time bronze vessels were produced in
Europe outside the Aegean. The technology of sheet bronzework is
demonstrated by two sets of items from chieftains' graves: handled cups,
and sheet-armour cuirasses (Sprockhoff 1930, Childe 1949, von Merhart
1969, Piggott 1959). By 1000 BC there was a full array of buckets, bowls
and sieves, as well as the remarkable wheeled cauldrons (Piggott 1983).
Although the precise dating is disputed, this new technology appeared
in Europe not at the peak of Mycenaean power but during and after the
collapse of the palaces, in the later LH IIIB and IIIC periods. It is
tempting to suggest that large-scale bronze sheetworking had been
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 115
virtually a palace monopoly, and that the new conditions allowed
experienced craftsmen to work for other patrons (not necessarily the
richest) — especially further north where opportunities were expanding
(Sandars 1983). A major school of sheet-bronzeworking grew up in the
long pre-eminent Carpathian area, whose products were widely distribut-
ed, going north as far as Denmark. A characteristic product, (that seems
to have taken the place of the large, two-handled bowl of Vulchetrun type
as the central container of the Urnfield symposium), was the biconical
bronze 'amphora' (von Merhart 1969 Tafel 48) that is echoed in pottery as
the Villanovan urn. The continuing vitality of central European metallurgy
— especially sheet bronzework like armour and vessels — contributed to
the revival of these skills in Greece and Italy during the early first
Beyond the Urnfield area, in Atlantic Europe and Scandinavia, the
traditions of cast bronzework continued, and were carried to new heights
in the creation of 'belt-boxes' (Hangebecken), lurer, or Irish horns. Sheet
bronzeworking was slower to penetrate, though it eventually spread from
central Europe to start a local tradition of buckets and patch-built
cauldrons (Hawkes and Smith 1957). The only bronze cups known from
the early first millennium in the British Isles, however, are cast ones (e.g.
Welby) and despite the craftsmanship attested by the Mold gold cape or
the abundance of Irish gold ornaments, there are no gold cups. Sheet-
bronze cups were used in Denmark from the equivalent of the early
Urnfield period (Thrane 1962). Even in Denmark the famous gold cups
from the Mariesminde Mose hoard were probably imported from northern
Germany, and only the handles added locally. Horns were probably the
main ostentatious drinking vessels, and occasionally occur in Danish
treetrunk-coffin burials; and they are known from the early Iron Age in
central Europe by their bronze or gold mounts.
The context of the Vulchetrun A-type vessels
Having outlined above the general development of gold, silver and bronze
sheet vessels in Europe, Egypt and Western Asia down to 850 BC, it
remains to attempt to place the gold vessels from the Vulchetrun hoard in
their specific chronological and cultural context.
The Vulchetrun hoard came to light in 1924 near the village in Pleven
district, N. Bulgaria, after which it is named. 1 It was not recovered under
' Vulchetrun is romanized from the village name BUIHHTPtH following Venedikov
and Gerassimov's 1975 English transliteration. Other romanizations in the literature include
VbLCI TRbN (Ebert) Vulchi Trun (Hoddinott) Valcitran (Matthaus) and V'lci-Tr'n
116 ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
scientific conditions and part of it was dispersed on discovery. Of fourteen
objects which were documented thirteen arrived at the archaeological
museum in Sofia. At least three of these remaining objects are
incomplete. Only five of the objects from the hoard are of importance in
this discussion — five vessels which appear to be elements of a drinking
set; it will be necessary to justify the treatment of these separately from
the other objects which form part of the hoard in its present state.
That the Vulchetrun hoard does not constitute a unity in either the
technological, chronological or cultural sense of the word has already been
argued by one of us in a forthcoming article 'Vulchetrun, A and B'
(Taylor, forthcoming, and see Taylor 1985: 131). It will be useful to
summarise the conclusions reached in that article, and to add to them in
the light of a recent technical examination carried out in the National
Museum, Sofia. 2 For convenient reference the constituent objects of the
hoard have been numbered as follows:
V*i : a large double-handled bowl; gold (Inv. No. 3192)
V 2 : a large single-handled vessel; gold (Inv. No. 3193)
V3-V5 : three small single-handled cups; gold (Inv. Nos. 3194, 3195, 3204)
V 6 : a curious 'triple vessel' consisting of three tear-drop shaped bowls of
gold, connected by tubing and a trident construction of electrum (Inv.
V7— Vji : five small 'lids', two of which have an onion-shaped central boss
surviving (Inv. No. 3198, 3199) and three of which have sections
broken away and missing (Inv. Nos. 3200, 3201, 3202); gold.
V12. V ]3 : two large 'lids', both with onion-shaped central bosses; gold,
decorated with silver (Inv. Nos. 31%, 3197)
Objects Vj_ 5 are grouped as Vulchetrun 'A', the rest as 'B'. The
fourteenth object reported at the time of the discovery can be given the
number V 14 ; it may well have been the pair to one of the objects V 7 -V n
if their function as cymbals is accepted (Minchev pers. comm.). 3
The obvious incongruousness of the forms and implied functions of the
objects in the hoard immediately suggests that it represents a hotch-potch
of objects hastily deposited at a time when some of them may already
have been antique. It is not just on the basis of the various forms and
implied functions that the objects can be separated, rather it is pre-
eminently in terms of techniques and materials that a primary assemblage
'Vulchetrun A' can be distinguished from the remaining, and apparently
later, set of material designated 'Vulchetrun B'. Vulchetrun B may itself
be of heterogeneous origin and display various phases of construction.
2 Carried out by T.F.T in May 1985 with the permission and guidance of the Antiquities
department. We would particularly like to thank Prof. Venedikov and Dr. Lazov for their
3 See note 10.
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 117
Only the Vulchetrun A assemblage is illustrated here. For Vulchetrun B
see Mikov 1958 and Venedikov and Gerassimov 1975 pis 32-40. Support
for this division can be found in the differing chemical character of the
gold represented in each.
MATERIALS %Au %Ag %Cu %Sn %Fe %S TOTAL
— 0.4 — 99.72
— — — 99.7
— — — 99.7
— — 1.3 89.7
16.0 — — 99.0
Fig. 2. Elemental analysis of Vulchetrun (after Mikov 1958)
Mikov, in his 1958 monograph on Vulchetrun, published an elemental
analysis of some of the materials used in making the objects (p. 14ff, 21ff)
(republished in Mozsolics 1965/66:55f . , following the figures incorrectly
given in the summary rather than the body of the text). It is reproduced
here in tabulated form (Fig. 2): columns list the elements gold, Au; silver,
Ag; copper, Cu; tin, Sn; iron, Fe; and sulphur, S. The lines indicate the
gross nature of the materials used according to Mikov: GOLD 1 (sample
taken from Vj); GOLD 2 (sample taken from V n ); ELECTF 7M;
NIELLO; BRONZE. The analysis is not entirely satisfactory, for several
reasons (aside from a number of printing errors 4 ). Firstly the material
termed 'niello' is most unlikely to be a niello in the strict sense; a sulphur
content of 1.3% is much too low to be a component of a sulphide inlay. 5
Secondly, the gold analyses are too few to be of any use in defining
separate groups within the hoard. On the basis of appearance alone, the
objects, when viewed under uniform lighting conditions, seem to be made
up of three different golds. The vessels V!— V 5 appear to have the most
'neutral' gold colour with no detectable variation among them, whilst the
'lids' V 7 — V13 are uniformly greener or more 'brassy'; the three tear-drop
shaped dishes of the triple vessel are redder or more 'coppery'. The
difference in surface colour between V! and Vn is consistent with the
chemical analyses presented for them, although it would be interesting to
find out if the GOLD 1 analysis generally holds for all five vesselsVi— V 5
4 There are inconsistencies both within the Bulgarian text and between it and the
summaries. The percentages given in tabulated form here cannot be considered entirely
trustworthy for this reason.
5 Contra Bonev 1984:175. On the properties and use of niello see Susan la Niece 1983.
118 ANDREW SHEKKA1T AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
and likewise if the GOLD 2 analysis generally holds for all seven 'lids'
V 7 -V 13 .
It is not only on grounds of a proposed variation in the materials used
for different parts of the hoard that its basic disunity is proposed, but also
from the evidence of different manufacturing technique. The five vessels
Vj— V 5 are constructed in hammered gold plate, raised into open forms
and finished with repousse work. Their handles are joined back to their
bodies with conical-headed rivets. These techniques are discussed in more
detail below, but the outline given here serves to illustrate a fundamental
dissimilarity between these vessels and the rest of the hoard. The 'triple
vessel' V 6 is an extraordinary and unique construction 6 — the three
corrugated tear-drop shaped bowls are joined with solder to a cire perdue
cast electrum trident. 7 This solder appears to have been gold-plated,
probably to reduce the strong effect of aesthetic disharmony produced by
the black sulphidized silver against the shiny red gold. 8 The same solder
was used to join two short silver or electrum tubes beneath the bowls,
linking them cross-ways. The electrum trident has a hollow trapezoidal
cross-section with inlays of an unidentified material.' The seven objects
V 7 -V ]3 , variously identified as lids or cymbals, also display complex
polymetallism. They are constructed of gold over cast bronze, the bronze
serving as a 'former', core, or (if the objects are interpreted as cymbals)
resonant element (Minchev, pers. comm.). 10 The onion-shaped bosses are
closed hollow forms over bronze, and display great technical competence.
The two larger examples V 12 — V 13 have been pattern-silvered within zones
delimited by punched lines."
It is clear from this appraisal that the objects V 6 -V 13 display quite
different and much more complex metal-working techniques than Vj— V 5
(although this does not make them necessarily more aesthetically
pleasing). We suggest that manufacture within an urban context is likely
6 In Taylor (forthcoming) it was argued that the triple vessel itself was a two-phase
construction, with the tear-drop shaped bowls originally existing as separate objects. We no
longer support this view; see note 8.
7 This casting is extremely elaborate and shows signs of having been gilded. According to
Alexander Minchev (pers. comm.) only the central arm of the trident allows a flow of liquid
through it, but this seems to be contradicted by the presence of inflow pipes to the two
8 Contra Taylor (forthcoming) the black solder would not have produced a disharmonious
visual aspect, as it appears to have been gilded in its original state. This is a curious method
to employ, given the relative ease of using a gold solder.
9 See note 5.
10 Both Ognenova and Minchev consider that the objects served as cymbals. The bronze
elements once extended out to the rim of the objects and the gold was presumably
hammered down over them. Minchev believes that the tin content of the bronze was specific
to a resonant function.
" These punch-marks are made by a different tool to those on V 3 — V 5 .
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 119
for these complex objects. The closest parallel for the 'lids' seems to
support this — a gold and silver banded 'lid' with a pomegranate-shaped
central boss from Karmir Blur, Urartu, which carries an inscription dating
it to the eighth century BC. 12 A similar date could be proposed for the
Essentially, the dating and provenance of V 6 to V, 3 need not concern us
in this discussion as, whatever their origin, they clearly distinguish
themselves from Vulchetrun A in terms of shape, function, fabric and
construction: on the one hand we have complex polymetallism with
casting, soldering and bonding, whilst on the other hand we have five pure
sheet-gold vessels, hammered and riveted. Further, within the last five
years, two new discoveries of sheet-gold vessels have been published
which display the same technology and a range of similar forms. These
represent the first true parallels to the Vulchetrun A drinking set to
appear so far. They are the vessel found near Kryzhovlin in the Ukranian
S.S.R. (Dzis-Rayko and Chernyakov 1981) and the five vessels found near
Radeni in the NeamJ district of Romania (Revista Muzeelor 1981 (8); see
now Vulpe and Mihailescu-Birliba 1985). Map 2 zone 7 shows the
distribution of the three findspots. We shall discuss each set of material in
The assemblage put forward as Vulchetrun A comprises the five vessels
V)— V 5 . They are made of gold of a similar colour, hammer-worked from
sheet into open forms. The strap handles are in all cases integral, rising
from the lip in 'high-handle' form and curving back down onto the outside
of the vessel to be held in place by three gold rivets apiece. In our
illustrations (Figs 3 and 4:1) the handles of the large vessel Vj have been
reconstructed to what is considered to be their original height. The hoard
was recovered in a crumpled state and only partial restoration has taken
place; compare the photograph of the hoard as discovered (Mikov 1958:
pi. 1) and as it is presently displayed (Venedikov and Gerassimov 1975:
pi. 33). It seems sensible to assume that the form of the double handles
12 This inscription is of the King Argishti I who came to the throne in the second quarter
of the 8th century BC (Piotrovsky 1959 pi. 42). Although not argued in detail here, a referral
of V 7 -V 13 to an urban and possibly Urartian production context seems to us to be
reasonable; their incorporation and deposition with a set of locally made antique drinking
vessels does not seem inherently unlikely. Filov and Kazarov's Mediaeval ascription (cited
Wilke 1925) is also worthy of consideration in this respect. The incorporation of a chance
discovery of gold vessels (Vulchetrun A) into a later church treasure (Vulchetrun B) is an
13 If only on grounds of economy of theory.
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
Fig. 3. The proposed assemblage 'Vulchetrun A*.
originally followed that of the less damaged vessel V 2 . This fits with the
proposed reconstructions of the Kryzhovlin and Radeni vessels (see
below). Vessel Vj weighs 4.395 kg; the diameter at the mouth varies
slightly around 28.5 cm; the height from base to rim is c. 17.1 cm; the
thickness of the gold is 4.6 mm at the lip and c. 3.5 mm elsewhere; a
rough volumetric calculation suggests that it could have conveniently held
between 7 and 8 litres of liquid." Vessel V 2 weighs 0.919 kg; the diameter
at the mouth is c. 16.2 cm; the height from base to rim is c. 12.5 cm; the
thickness of the gold is c. 2.0 mm (Mikov's figures; this vessel was not
examined by us). Vessels V 3 , V 4 and V 5 : these three small cups are nearly
identical in shape and size and their rivets are made as smaller versions of
the rivets on the two larger vessels; they weigh 123 gm each; the height
14 These were achieved by the very rough method of taking the mean value between the
4 jit 1
volume of half a sphere constructed on the mouth diameter: — and that of a
cylinder the height of the vessel with the same radius: -urti. It should be borne in mind that
the vessels would not have been brim-full in use, and such an approximate calculation seems
justified. The volume of V 3 -V 5 was calculated on the half sphere basis only.
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN
Fig. 4. Gold vessels (to scale). 4:1, Vulchetrun; 4:2, Kryzhovlin; 4:3, 4:4 and 4:5, Radeni;
4:6, Mycenae Shaft-Grave IV
ANDREW SHF.RRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
from base to rim is 4.3 cm; the diameter at the rim varies between 8.8 and
9.0 cm with a sheet-gold thickness at the rim of 0.9 mm. The cups would
have held about 0.2 litres of liquid, according to how full they were. This
falls somewhere between two of the modern European standard wine
measures — the glass, at between 0.115 and 0.125 I., and the German
'Viertel' or quarter-litre glass (0.250 1.). The cups stand upright only when
filled and would presumably have to have been hung up when not in use
(of this more below). On the inner surface of all three cups there is a
small indentation; it occurs in the centre of the base and seems to have
been caused by a tool with a compass-like point. It is not visible on the
outside and is probably an index of a particular production method in
which either the tool or the vessel was rotated to enable the vessel to be
All five of the vessels are decorated. The body of V] is plain with a
distinct shoulder two-thirds of the way up. The handles are decorated in
five parallel bands or ridges, pressed up out of the thick gold sheet. The
central three bands link to form what Venedikov and Gerassimov have
terned a 'fish-tail' terminus to either end to the handle (1975 : 351). The
central band, or spine, is patterned with diagonal slashes which appear to
have been excised with a sharp graving tool; 15 the two edges of the handle
are decorated with the same diagonal pattern but in much narrower bands,
and probably punched. Vessel V 2 is decorated in exactly the same way,
although lacking a shoulder. The three vessels V 3) V 4 and V 5 are decorated
in a slightly different manner to the two large vessels. There are only
three raised bands on the handles — the central band with diagonal
slashes, with the outer bands, forming the edges, merely punch-dotted.
The same 'fish-tail' termination is present, except that on the inside the
ends, after dividing, become a continuous repousse band around the vessel
rim; immediately below this are two further bands so that three bands in
all define the rim of each cup.
The bases of all five vessels have standing surfaces formed by regular
upraised circular bands. On both V t and V 2 there are two such raised
bands, organized concentrically (Mikov 1958: figs V and VIII). The small
cups V3-V5 have a flattened basal plane with a single raised ring on
which they stand (Mikov 1958: fig. XI).
The Kryzhovlin bowl (Fig. 4:2) was discovered by chance in the Balta
region, north of Odessa. No associated finds were recorded. It was
a These are dissimilar in detail to those on V 12 and V 13 . Both the tool and the technique
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN
published by Dzis-Rayko and Chernyakov in 1981 under the title 'A gold
bowl of Vulchetrun type from the NW Pontic region'. 16 It weighs 765.59
gm; its maximum diameter is 17.9 cm; its height from base to rim 11.4 cm;
it is constructed of sheet-gold c. 0.8 mm thick. According to the
publication it is constructed from a gold containing at least 75% Au, but
no detailed elemental breakdown is offered. It displays a repair, presumed
to be antique, the rivets and plates of which are less pure (60-65% Au).
The handles of the vessel have undecorated 'fish-tail' termini (similar
though not identical to Vulchetrun A: V t ) which were originally held in
place on both sides with four rivets apiece; these rivets are rounded on
their outer faces and hammered down against the inner surface of the
vessel. Like Vj the bowl has a distinct raised base. On Kryzhovlin this
consists of two concentric rings beaten down to form a standing plane
between which six rivets have been hammered (Dzis-Rayko and
Chernyakov 1981: 153, fig. 3:3). A rough volumetric calculation suggests
that the vessel could once have held around 2 to 2.5 litres of liquid.
Information concerning a hoard of badly damaged vessels from near the
village of Radeni in Romanian Moldavia has been slow to emerge since its
accidental discovery during farm work in 1965 or 1966 (Vulpe and
Mihailescu-Birliba 1985:47). Three vessels reached Piatra NeamJ museum
in 1977 and appeared on the cover of Revista Muzeelor 1981 (8) but with
little documentation. A fourth vessel passed, by way of a jeweller in
Oradea, Transylvania, into the collection of the National Museum in
Bucharest in 1971. A fifth passed from private hands into the Romanian
National Bank between 1979 and 1980. It seems that the hoard had
consisted of as many as eight small gold vessels which had been hung from
a larger two-handled vessel by means of (?gold) wire (Vulpe and
Mihailescu-Birliba 1985:48). The five vessels, Rj — R 5 , which can be
documented are as follows:
Rj (Fig. 4:5) Piatra NeamJ Inv. No. 5548: a two-handled gold vessel with
distinct shoulder and decorative engraving on the handles; at least
75-80% Au; height from base to rim c. 7.4 cm; diameter 12 to 13 cm;
thickness of gold sheet at rim 2.0 mm, elsewhere 0.9 mm; weight
458.6 gm; the strap handles are integral, rising from the rim to be fixed
back against the body using two rivets apiece. The base is formed by two
concentric rings with six rivets hammered flat between them, very similar
to the base of the Kryzhovlin vessel.
Spelling standardised from the title of the English summary.
124 ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR ^^^
R 2 , Piatra NeamJ Inv. No. 5549: a two-handled gold vessel with distinct
shoulder and 'fish tail' decoration; at least 75—80% Au; height from base
to rim 4.9 to 5.3 cm; diameter 8.7 to 10.2 cm; thickness of gold sheet at
rim 2.0 mm, elsewhere 0.9 mm; weight 243.10 gm; the strap handles are
integral, two rivets apiece; the base appears to be defined by a single
raised ring but without rivets.
R 3 (Fig. 4:3) Piatra NeamJ Inv. No. 5550: a single-handled gold vessel
with distinct shoulder and 'fish tail' decoration; at least 75-80% Au;
height from base to rim 6.5 to 6.7 cm; diameter c. 9.5 cm; thickness of
gold sheet at rim 1.4 mm, elsewhere 0.9 mm; weight 203.7 gm; the handle
is integral, with two rivets; there is a distinct circular pressed out base (see
Vulpe and Mihailescu-Birliba 1985:52 and Abbildung 5:le).
R 4 (Fig. 4:4) National Museum, Bucharest Inv. Nos B 32/1—9:
(fragmentary) a two-handled gold vessel, similar to R 2 , with 'fish tail'
decoration; reconstructed dimensions: height 7 cm; diameter 11.5 cm;
thickness c. 1 mm; weight of frags. 198.17 gm; two rivets per handle; gold
'over 75%' Au.
R 5 , Romanian National Bank, Bucharest: (five fragments) a gold vessel
with either one or two handles, integral with the rim and fixed with a row
of three rivets; 'fish tail' termini to the handle(s) are clearly visible;
reconstructed dimensions: height 6.4 cm; diameter 8.0 cm; weight of frags.
158.5 gm; the gold, analysed in the bank using a much more sensitive
method than was used for Rj-Rj, contains 95% Au.
The five vessels appear like a set of miniature variations on the
Vulchetrun \ x type, with high strap-handles and conical-ended rivets. A
rough volumetric calculation suggests that they could have held between
0.2 and 0.25 litres, a little more than the three cups V 3 — V 5 . They seem to
have been constructed from at least two types of sheet; Vulpe and
Mihailescu-Birliba note that R x and R 5 appear to be much 'redder' than
the other vessels.
The vessels from Vulchetrun, Kryzhovlin and Radeni display a large
number of shared traits. Despite their different sizes they have forms and
decorations which appear as variations on a theme. They were all
constructed from sheet-gold and using similar workshop techniques. They
occur in the extra-Carpathian zone which links the Steppe to the Lower
Danube Basin (Map 2 zone 7), but, given their close similarity, the
distances between their respective findspots is remarkable — as the crow
flies, about 250 km between Radeni and Kryzhovlin, about 400 km
between Radeni and Vulchetrun and about 650 km between Kryzhovlin
and Vulchetrun (of this more below).
It seems reasonable that a similar date should be sought for the
production of all of the vessels; however, the fact that no associated
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 125
material was documented at any of the three findspots which might have
helped in suggesting a date (for the depositions at least), makes this
endeavour a hard one." The history of scholarship concerning Vulchetrun
is long and complex (see Bonev 1977). During the last 60 years various
datings ranging from the late third millennium BC to AD 700 have been
put forward. Because the hoard has been considered a unity the
postulated dates have had to accommodate both components. Further-
more, no close parallels were known until recently for any of the objects
in the hoard; thus specialists tended to ascribe the 'treasure' to the period
with which they were most, familiar, mainly on the basis of proposed
similarities for the form of the V t vessel, the drinking cups V 3 — V 5 and the
curvilinear decoration of the two large 'lids' Vi 2 and V J3 .
The most favoured time-bracket has always been between the 13th
century BC and the 8th century BC. We hope to demonstrate here that
this is absolutely the least likely period within the entire date range in
which to countenance the production of gold vessels of the type described.
We consider that the distinction of more than one techno-cultural complex
within the Vulchetrun hoard marks a major step forward in the attempt to
understand the material. Ridding ourselves of the 'lids' with their bizarre
technology and unknown function immediately removes all the arguments
for dating the Vulchetrun A component on the basis of the curvilinear
meanders on the 'lids' (general parallels for which can be found in many
periods — they formed the basis of Filov and Kazarov's medieval
ascription 18 ). Arguments based on the form of the bronze components to
the 'lids' (Mikov 1958; Venedikov and Gerassimov 1975: 27 f., pi. 36;
Bonev 1984: figs 8, 9, 10 and 11; Taylor, forthcoming: fig. 1) are also
spurious, as these are both incomplete and of a very different form to that
supposed by most authors."
Given the lack of associated material at Kryzhovlin and Radeni, and the
problematic material 'associated' with Vulchetrun A, we are left with four
indirect means of proposing a cultural and chronological context for the
phenomenon of the Vulchetrun A-type vessels. These are contextual
analysis, formal analysis, functional analysis and technological analysis.
The absence of material associated with the gold vessels itself suggests a
certain depositional and cultural mode. All the finds were uncovered in a
crumpled state (at Radeni apparently deliberately crushed); none of the
finds was part of a burial; likewise none were found within, or in any close
association with, any known prehistoric settlement. Although, strictly, the
17 None of the finds were excavated scientifically and important material may have gone
unrecognized and/or missing.
13 See note 12.
" See note 10 and Venedikov 1975:7.
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
Vulchetrun hoard must be ruled out of this discussion (having argued
above that the vessels in it were incorporated into a secondary
deposition), the finds from Radeni give enough support to the idea that
the original eight small vessels there may have formed part of a hoard in
which a large two-handled vessel of V! type may have been the
centrepiece. Such deposition of drinking equipment seems to have been
widespread during the period after 2000 BC in Europe (Map 2) with a
number of hoards from the Otomani area (zone 8) and individual pieces in
central western Europe (zone 10). After 1300 BC no such depositions are
known from SE Europe, the Aegean or Anatolia (Map 3) until the
appearance of the Kazicheni gold vessel ('Sofia treasure') in the 8th or 7th
century BC. Indeed, the lack of goldwork from eastern Europe at a time
when it is plentifully represented in the Urnfield area further west (e.g.
Menghin and Schauer 1977) suggests that alluvial gold in the Carphathian
area may have been coming to an end after three thousand years of
exploitation from the Copper Age onwards. Later goldwork of the
Classical and Hellenistic periods, was mostly made from mined gold,
probably from the area of Mt. Pangaion where ancient authors describe it
(see Unger and Schutz 1982).
In the absence of datable contexts for finds of gold vessels of
Vulchetrun A-type, further clues may be sought in the local pottery
shapes. Double-handled vessels resembling the Vulchetrun large vessel
(V]), with two high strap-handles rising from the rim and joining at the
shoulder, are found in a broad arc of related cultures stretching from the
Balkans to the North Pontic area, and including the Tei, Monteoru and
Costisa cultures. Particularly close parallels occur in the Classic phase of
the Monteoru culture (1700-1500 BC) — notable also for the abundance
of small sheet-goldwork in the form of hair-rings (Zaharia 1959). The
parallels extend to the presence of a median ridge along the strap-handles
in the manner of the Vulchetrun, Radeni and Kryzhovlin examples (e.g.
Gimbutas 1965: fig. 152,2). Even in pottery, such vessels were valuable
and significant enough to accompany individuals (warrior males?) to their
graves, as in cemetery 4 at Sarata-Monteoru itself (ibid. fig. 153).
From the point of view of function, the Vulchetrun A — Kryzhovlin —
Radeni group fits very well into the Bronze Age symposium' category.
We have already outlined the form taken by the development of this elite
custom or pastime in the commentary on the maps (above). If we consider
these finds as the remains of elite drinking sets, then we can imagine them
originally consisting of a central, communal, liquid-holding vessel —
Vulchetrun V,, Kryzhovlin and the inferred Vptype vessel from Radeni —
for use with a number of individual drinking cups holding roughly the
same volume as a modern large wine glass — Vulchetrun V 3 -V 5 and
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 127
Radeni R 2 — R (8 ). In such chance finds it is by no means unreasonable to
postulate similar small drinking cups for use with the Kryzhovlin vessel.
The vessel V 2 probably represents an elaboration on the basic drinking
ceremony (perhaps like the later role of the rhyton in relation to the
crater and phiale, or as a 'loving cup' for communal use). It is interesting
to note that the small vessels from the Radeni hoard were apparently
discovered hanging with wire from the now missing larger vessel, as the
balance of the Vulchetrun A drinking cups (referred to above) suggests
that they too would have to have been hung from something if they were
not to roll around and become damaged; the central vessel V! would
present the ideal choice. Pingel has calculated that V 1 would have weighed
around 15 kg when full and therefore would have been kept in a fixed
The analysis of depositional context, form and function do no more
than suggest a general milieu for the production and use of drinking
vessels of the Vulchetrun A-type. We have suggested that the period from
2000-1300 BC is the only viable one in which to place them. Within this
long period, however, it is only technological analysis that can tie down
the date of production further.
We will attempt to argue for a date between 1600 and 1400 BC for the
vessels of the Vulchetrun A-Kryzhovlin-Radeni group. The
Vulchetrun A-type vessels display a technology which, although practiced
locally, owes much to the Cretan-Mycenaean school of metalworking of
the Shaft Grave and Palace periods; therefore they must date to the
period in which contact between Mycenae and those areas around the
Black Sea where they were made was at its height.
The techniques with which we are dealing are much more sophisticated
than those of the native Otomani goldworking tradition, and bear little
direct debt to it. They might well be seen as in response to the influence
of Mycenaean contacts with the Black Sea coastlands.lt is in the Shaft
Grave period that these stylistic links are most obvious, as long recognised
in the compass-decorated bonework (mostly horse-gear) with a Carpathian
background, and more demonstrably in the occurrence of Baltic amber in
Greece — though this may have followed an Italian rather than a Balkan
route (Harding 1984: 79f.; Bouzek 1985). Metals may have been the
motive for such contacts (a trade perhaps later marked by the copper ox-
hide ingots off the Gulf of Burgas and inland, and the double axes of
apparently Mycenaean type from Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine;
(Panayotov 1980; Buchholz 1983)), since Carpatho-Balkan copper was
potentially available to early Mycenaean traders. The influence of such
contacts on local goldworking traditions are best exemplified in the
Per§inari dagger with its Shaft Grave parallels (e.g. circle B grave Delta),
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
and the nearby Macin gold daggers, from the Lower Danube Basin (Map
2; and see Gimbutas 1965 pi 8b, 1; Mozsolics 1965/66 Tafel 1, 1 and 2).
These imply a much closer relationship during the 16th century BC
between these areas than possible imports in other areas (e.g. Dohnsen)
can suggest. 20
It is in this context that the Vulchetrun A-type vessels should be
viewed. We suggest that the following developments took place in SE
European metal vessel production as a result of the influence of palace
workshops (in terms either of emulation following imported models or of
the actual movement of craftsmen). None of the following traits are
characteristic of the Otomani sheet-gold vessel horizons, but all of them
are found in Cretan-Mycenaean metalworking and in the Vulchetrun A-
(a) The raising of sheet vessels with regular circular cross-section in the
horizontal plane: this is lacking in the early second millennium gold vessels
of the Otomani group, and was achieved — perhaps independently — in
the Atlantic Early Bronze Age (Fritzdorf, Rillaton) at a date
approximately contemporary with the shaft grave goldwork and the
suggested date of Vulchetrun A.
(b) The sharp shouldering or carination of the vessel body: again
apparently developed independently in the west (Fritzdorf), it is unknown
in the Otomani group. The shoulder, which brings the vessel over into a
closed form, is much more difficult to achieve while retaining a regular
horizontal section, than it is when raising an open shape.
(c) The use of the classic 'kantharos' form with two strap-handles: this
form, which probably originated in Anatolia or Crete (Gournia; and the
imported silver kantharoi from Tod, dating to c. 2000 BC (Davis 1977: figs
52 and 53)) is well known in the Mycenaean world. The example from
Mycenae Shaft-Grave IV is illustrated for comparative purposes here (fig.
4:6); it is similar in scale to the Radeni and Kryzhovlin vessels, but the
shoulder is set much lower. The twin-handled bowls in the Otomani region
may owe something to early Cretan types, but if so then they have not
retained the shoulders or riveted-back handles and are unlikely to have
served as a starting-point for the Vulchetrun A-type vessels.
(d) Concentric ring bases and raised circular bases: these are typical of
early Cypro-Levantine production (Tod, Ain Samieh) and are character-
istic of all Cretan-Mycenaean non-footed sheet-metal vessels. The slightly
raised sub-circular bases which occur on some Otomani vessels (Bihar)
might be related, but the competent concentric basal rings of the
Vulchetrun A-type vessels seem unlikely to represent a development from
20 Matthaus proposes a date for the Dohnsen cup in the 16th century BC (1977/78).
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 129
these; rather, they are more likely to follow Aegean models directly.
Compare the raised base of Radeni R 3 (Vulpe and Mihailescu-Birliba
1985: fig. 5: Id, le) with Cretan-Mycenaean examples.
(e) The use of high strap-handles and conical rivets: nearly all the
handles of the Mycenaean metal vessels are attached at both ends, using
rivets; only a few of the 'teacups' have handles which are integral with the
rim at one end (e.g. Ayios Ioannis). Neither riveting nor high strap
handles are used at all in the Otomani goldwork; while in the west the
separately made handles are held in place both top and bottom by flat,
rhomboidal, 'washer-rivets' which are a feature peculiar to this group.
If taken together these traits suggest that there was an important link
between the production of the Mycenaean workshops and the Vulchetrun
A-Kryzhovlin-Radeni group. These similarities effectively rule out a
pre-Mycenaean date (cf. Pingel 1982). There is only one important
divergence from the Mycenaean tradition. As mentioned above, few
Mycenaean vessels have integral handles, and those that do are not of the
kantharos type which, we suggested, provided the basic model for the V!
type. The vessels of the Hajdusamson horizon (2000 — 1800 BC) all have
such integral handles, joined at the rim and open at the bottom. Because
of the strong general influence of early Mycenaean techniques and overall
lack of similarity with the Otomani tradition the Vulchetrun A-type vessels
are clearly of Mycenaean date; nevertheless the integral handles may
indeed reflect continuation of this single feature from Otomani goldwork.
Vulpe and Mihailescu-Birliba suggest that the Radeni and Kryzhovlin
vessels were made in the same workshop (1985:57) but this is perhaps to
over-interpret their clear similarity as a group. The differences among the
Vulchetrun A-type vessels, with rivets from two to four per handle, sizes
from fractions of litres to several litres, and the various ways in which the
'fish tail' motifs have been rendered, all suggest a common style rather
than the production of a single atelier. The very fact that, after appearing
to be unique for so many years, Vulchetrun now has parallels, should
suggest both that more vessels are to be found and that more vessels have
been found during the period of 3500 years or so since the deposition of
such hoards. The full documentation of 11 vessels from three widely
dispersed findspots, unmarked by any burial monument, in three separate
countries after so long a period seems to provide ample grounds for the
belief that many more existed, probably with a sequence of internal
These considerations require there to be a zone of common contact
around the western margin of the Black Sea over which a common form
of luxury symposium set was in use, antl that this zone was in contact with
the Mycenaean world. This is exactly what Dzis-Rayko and Chernyakov
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
feel to be a prerequisite for the production of their bowl (1981: 157f) and
believe it to exist between the 15th and 13th centuries BC. We believe
that the vessels should date a little earlier, to the 16th -15th centuries BC
because this is the period of most obvious Mycenaean influence (Persjnari)
and because of the continuation of the Otomani goidsmithing tradition of
raising the handles directly from the lip.
In conclusion, the arguments presented for the various technical and
chronological phases in the production of sheet-metal vessels from 3000 to
850 BC lead to a much clearer understanding of the place of the
Vulchetrun vessels and their relatives within a broader European pattern.
The view that such vessels were used for the presentation and distribution
of alcoholic drinks in a formalized social context sheds light on the
function of many types of ceramic vessels which survive from areas and
periods when precious metal has failed, for one reason or another, to be
well represented in the archaeological record. From 3000 BC down to the
end of the Aegean palaces we can see how important the axial position of
Greece and the Mediterranean islands was in mediating the transmission
of techniques and fashions often originating in the urban centres of the
Near East. It is the effective collapse of this network which divided gold
and silver vessel-working into isolated oriental and occidental schools.
It is unnecessary for present purposes to pursue this story in subsequent
periods: the effect of the Mediterranean revival and the orientalising
movement, the spread of further types of Mediterranean buckets,
amphorae and jugs along the central European axis (e.g. Stjernquist 1967;
Schaaff and Taylor 1975, Werner 1954, Eggers 1951), and the arrival of
wine itself through the agency of the Greeks and Romans. The theme is a
continuing one. Whether the vessels of Vulchitrun held wine or mead,
beer or koumiss, they were part of an aristocratic 'golden age' of alcoholic
The goldwork of the Vulchetrun group would thus represent a
metalworking tradition influenced by the advanced workshop practices of
the Aegean palaces, and perhaps acting as intermediary between these and
the more distant workshops of temperate Europe. Such contacts between
the west Pontic area and Mycenaean Greece did not outlast the
Mycenaean period itself; but they interestingly prefigure the future pattern
of Archaic and Classical Greek colonisation and its introduction of the set
of vessels which were to characterise the second golden age of Thrace,
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THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN 131
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132 ANDR EW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
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KEY TO THE MAPS
All maps: a) Production areas of gold and/or silver sheet-metal vessels, defined as
regional traditions; b) Findspots of gold and/or silver sheet-metal vessels;
c) Presence of metal vessels inferred from pottery forms; d) Findspots of
pottery showing skeuomorphic metal detail; e) Findspots of sheet-bronze
THE CONTEXT OF VULCHETRUN
vessels beyond the area of their contemporary production; f) Limits of
sheet-bronzeworking; g) Findspots of gold objects (not vessels) with special
importance for the discussion.
1. Mesopotamian classic; 2. Iranian figured; 3) Central Anatolian channelled; 4. Egyptian
sheet-goldwork and bronze vessels; 5. Syro-Palestinian E.B.A. (pottery); 6. Aegean plain;
7. Baden culture (pottery).
ANDREW SHERRATT AND TIMOTHY TAYLOR
I. Near Eastern figured; 2. Aegean-related goldwork in E. Med., and Egyptian goldwork:
3. West Anatolian (pottery): 4. Cretan decorated: 5. Mycenaean plain and decorated:
6. Balkan (pottery); 7. Western pontic zone of Vulchetrun-related gold vessels; K. Otomani
goldwork; 9. Unetice (pottery); 10. W. European E.B.A. gold and silver.
1. Near-Eastern goldwork (Urartan-Assyrian-Babylonian); 2. Egyptian bi-metallic (gold and
silver) vessels in oriental style; 3. Cypro-Levantine (pottery); 4. Urnfield goldwork.
MIDAS WANAX LAWAGETAS
FRANK DE GRAAF
Near the Turkish village of Yazilikaya lay the remains of a settlement
called The City of Midas. Above this spot one can see a monument that
has been cut out in the rock, dating from the sixth century B.C., and
according to an inscription dedicated to 'midai lavagetaei vanaktei'.
In his 1969 article 'A propos de la titulature de Midas" Michel Lejeune
already stated that in documents, dating from the Mycenaean period the
terms wa-na-ka (wanax) and ra-wa-ke-ta (lawagetas) stood for respectively
king and a high-placed, possibly military, office-holder.
In Homer the meaning of (w)anax already has changed to the more
general 'lord', while during the first millenium B.C. la(wa)getas is only
found as a gloss.
If Midas' titles have been derived from the Greek language, this has to
have happened, in Lejeune's view, in pre-Homeric times. The question is:
where and when did the Phrygians adopt a certain type of political
organisation and/or the accompanying titles from the Greek world?
In the Phrygian city of Gordion, west of The City of Midas, the American
archaeologist Rodney S. Young conducted regular excavations during the
fifties and sixties. On the ground of finds of sherds of gray pottery in two
trial shafts dug in 1963 and 1965, one can conclude very cautiously that
the Phrygians settled in Gordion, which was then inhabited by Hittites, in
the twelfth or eleventh century B.C. 2
In the earliest tumuli of Gordion, dating from the second half of the
eight century B.C., much gray pottery has been found, which does not
occur anymore in the later tumuli built after the Kimmerian invasion of
700 B.C. 3 The baking technique (reduced firing) and shapes remind of the
Gray Minyan pottery and this justifies the thought that the Phrygians have
migrated from the west.
' Michel Lejeune, A propos de la titulature de Midas, in: Athenaeum XLVIl (1969).
1 AJA 68, 1964, p. 292; AJA 70, 1966, p. 276ff.
3 G. & A. Koerte, Gordion, Jahrbuch des Kaiserlichen Archaologischen Instituts, 5es
154 FRANK DE GRAAF
About 1275 B.C. Troy Vlh was destroyed by a severe earthquake and a
long period of prosperity was brought to an end." The excavations by Carl
W. Blegen have shown that the mass import of Mycenaean pottery and
the local imitation of this pottery in shape and in decoration were a very
important characteristic of this period. 5 The import of Mycenaean pottery
began sporadically during LH I, increased during LH II and reached its
peak during LH III A, when the imitations were very popular too.
Nevertheless the local Trojan shapes and techniques were still predominant
and Troy Vlh was certainly not mycenaeanized, although Mycenaean
influence was far-reaching. 6
After the earthquake, during the transition from LH IHA to LH HIB,
the city was patched up hastily, the many houses squeezed together and
the abundance of big storage jars underneath the floors suggesting that
Troy was under siege. The destruction, probably by war, of Troy Vila
must, according to evidence given by V.R. Desborough in The Last
Mycenaeans and their Successors, be dated before the end of LH IIIB, i.e.
1250/30 B.C. 7 The settlement of Troy Vllbl, built immediately after
destruction of Vila, ended after about one generation, when new invaders
took the town without force. 8
Troy and Gordion
Comparison of the pottery in the eight century graves in Gordion and in
Troy 400-500 years earlier produces three types which, despite a gap of a
few hundred years, are almost identical:
jugs of the Trojan type B25
amphorae of the Trojan type B42
pithoi of the Trojan type C45."
These striking similarities in shape and baking technique and the fact
that Blegen classifies these three types in the same category, with
antecedents in the Middle Bronze Age, justify the conclusion that the
Phrygian occupants of Gordion originated in the Troad. 10
4 Carl W. Blegen, Troy III, part I: Text, Princeton, 1963, p. 20.
5 Op cit. p. 10.
6 Op. cit. p. 11.
' V. R. d'A. Desborough, The last Mycenaeans and their successors, Oxford, 1964, p. 164;
Carl W. Blegen, Troy IV, part 1: Text, Princeton, 1958, p. 146.
• Blegen, Troy TV, p. 145f.
* B25: Blegen. Troy VI, p. 32.
B42: id, p. 35.
C45: id, p. 37.
10 Op. cit. p. 37.
MIDAS WANAX LAWAGETAS 155
The shapes B25 and B42 occur as well in Troy VI, Vila and Vllbl as in
VIIb2. The large storage jars of shape C45 only occur in Vila and Vllbl
as 'luxurious' jars, next to the more simple model C39.
This means that the migration started during or immediately after the
periods of crisis in Troy Vila and/or Vllbl.
Midas and the Mycenaeans
As I said before, the excavations by Carl Blegen have shown the heavy
Mycenaean influence on Troy VI, which had the same culture as Troy
Vila and Vllbl, In my opinion, this influence was so deeply rooted that
even in the sixth century B.C., when the Mycenaean civilization itself had
since long perished and the Phrygians had been gone from the Troad for
over 600 years, their king was still called 'lawagetas wanax'.
In 1969 Michel Lejeune ended his article as follows:
"L'examen du seul terme vanaktei ne conduisait pas necessairement a
l'hypothese d'un emprunt par le phrygien; mais dans le cas d'un emprunt,
il rendait vraisemblable, pour celui-ci, une date plus haute que a laquelle
on semble generalement songer. L'examen conjoint de vanaktei et de
lavagetaei donne a l'hypothese de l'emprunt plus de consistence, et a
l'antiquite presumable d'un tel emprunt plus de necessite. Sans doute sera-
t-on surpris, et peut-etre reticent, devant un tel perspective: les Phrygiens
recevant des Grecs, a date pre-homerique, un certain type d'organisation
politique, et adoptant en meme temps les termes grecs qui y definissent les
deux principales fonctions d'autorite. Faut-il, pour autant, tenir la chose
In my opinion, the archaeological evidence now has shown his
hypothesis to be highly probable.
MYCENAEAN PENETRATION INTO NORTHERN GREECE
D. W. SMIT
In this contribution I will try to show the possibility of reconstructing the
geographical extension of a Mycenaean or Mycenised civilization in
Greece north of Boeotia and the relation of this civilization to the bearers
of non-Mycenaean cultures that preceded it.
This reconstruction is partly based on archeological evidence and partly
on historical evidence, the main source for the latter being Homer's
description of the Thessalian kingdoms in the Greek Catalogue. 1
Reconstructing the boundaries of the kingdoms themselves has been
attempted earlier by Page 2 and Hope Simpson and Lazenby 3 but since then
much new archeological material has been produced and recently
systematized by Hope Simpson 4 in 1981 for the whole of Greece and by
Feuer 5 in 1983 for Thessaly in particular.
For a reconstruction of the kingdoms, archeological as well as historical
methods must be used. If one of the two gives a negative result, no
conclusions can be drawn, in my opinion, from the other method.
When using the archeological method, some difficulties arise in
determining whether Mycenaean finds prove actual habitation by Greek-
speaking Mycenaeans or simply indicate trade-contacts. Thanks to the
clear and comprehensive classification as presented by Hope Simpson
(1981), the finds now can be divided into four categories:
A) Isolated finds in a clearly non-Mycenaean context. They might show trade or
other contacts, but they are insufficient to conclude actual habitation of a
site by Mycenaeans.
B) Isolated finds in as yet doubtful context, e.g. grave finds without a
settlement having been found that could be related to it.
C) Finds in an ambiguous context. Mycenaean and non-Mycenaean objects
have been found together, e.g. as a result of a survey, but no definite
conclusions can be made as to which culture dominated the settlement.
D) Finds in a clearly Mycenaean context, qualified as such by the presence of
Mycenaean house forms, graves, household pottery, idols, etc. The sites of
1 Iliad, II 681-759.
2 D. L. Page, History and the Homeric Iliad, 1959.
3 R. Hope Simpson and F. Lazenby, The Catalogue of ships, 1970.
4 R. Hope Simpson, Mycenaean Greece, 1981.
5 B. Feuer, The Northern Mycenaean Border in Thessaly, 1983.
MYCENAEAN PENETRATION INTO NORTHERN GREECE 175
this category can be defined as actual Mycenaean settlements, although
objects of other material cultures may be present in relatively small
It has been shown by Wace and Thompson in 1912 already 6 that the
bearers of the Mycenaean culture have spread gradually over Thessaly. No
massive deployment of Mycenaean objects from LH I onwards can be
found in Thessaly as contrary to the rapid development of LH I in
In LH I, Mycenaean presence has only been proved for the southern
district of Volos and Pevkakia, but the excavator's report shows that
objects of the Middle Helladic Culture remained in use throughout this
period and dominated the Mycenaean ware in numbers. 7
For LH IIB, some extension of the Mycenaean presence to the north
into the Thessalian Plain has been proved. As the Middle Helladic Culture
is still dominating, Volos and the other sites (Nea Ankhialos, Chasambali,
Larisa, Gremnos) cannot be classified as Mycenaean settlements.
For LH IIIA the Mycenaean presence in Thessaly strongly increases, to
reach is zenith in LH IIIB. A palatial structure is reported at Volos and
actual Mycenaean settlements are numerous in these two periods.
As the Mycenaean finds strongly decline in numbers and quality in
Thessaly in LH IIIC1 (the Volos palace is destroyed and many settlements
in the interior are deserted), the archeological method so far gives the
possibility to reconstruct the kingdoms in the LH IIIA or LH IIIB periods
Apart from Thessaly, Northern Greece gives, on a much smaller scale, the
same general results as Thessaly does.
In the Spercheios-valley a fragment found near Alpenoi can be dated
either LH I or LH II, but Mycenaean settlements can only be established
from LH IIIA onwards. Other sites in the valley area show a small
number of Mycenaean objects from various periods in a non-Mycenaean
In Aetolia the Mycenaean presence is somewhat stronger. Thermon has
produced Mycenaean objects dating from LH I onwards, but the local
MBA culture did not disappear entirely throughout the Late Bronze Age.
6 A. J. B. Wace and M. S. Thompson, Prehistoric Thessaly, 1912.
7 The burial practice of cist graves remained in use in the LH IIIA/IIIB periods as well.
For further literature I refer to Hope Simpson (1981).
D. W. SMIT
In LH MA and LH MB the Mycenaean presence increases as in
Thessaly. Kalydon, Kryoneri, Mesolonghi, Ayios Ilias and Palairos
Kekropoula can be classified as actual Mycenaean settlements.
There are no Mycenaean settlements in Epirus. Eleven sites have
produced Mycenaean finds from the LH MA and LH MB periods, but in
all a local material culture dominated.
The last region to be treated here is Macedonia. The archeological
situation here is somewhat obscure. More than 35 sites producing
Mycenaean objects are known (mostly LH MA and LH MB), 8 but until
recently, only three of these' have been classified by some authors as
permanent Mycenaean settlements.
Others classify all sites (as collected by Hope Simpson in 1981) as
Mycenaean trading posts at the most, with a predominantly local
The excavations of B. Hansel at Kastanas, 10 however, have produced a
fine Mycenaean type of house and abundant LH MB and LH MC
pottery, of which only 1% was imported.
In the Bronze Age the site was situated on a small island in the Axios,
with a much less developed settlement on the opposite shore. Most of the
pottery of both the island-settlement and the shore-settlement was local,
however, so that if any Mycenaeans did settle on the island, their number
must have been small.
As has been mentioned above, Page (1959) and Hope Simpson and
Lazenby (1970) have attempted to define geographical boundaries for the
kingdoms mentioned in the Iliad, in particular the Greek Catalogue.
I will give no new arguments whether or not the material provided by
the Catalogue is suitable for this approach. Some supporting arguments
have been provided by Webster," who, by using the method of
comparative culture-analysis shows that the Catalogue is suitable to
reconstruct the Mycenaean world.
I will try to treat the problem of the geography of the Mycenaean
kingdoms using other historical material, partly provided by Homer as
well. The kingdoms to be treated here are, in Homer's order, those of
Achilles, Protesilaos, Philoktetes, Podaleirios and Machaon, Eurypylos,
8 One sherd (Kalamaria) has been dated either LH I or LH II.
9 Thermi Toumba, Gona and Perivolati.
10 B. Hansel, Siedlungskontinuitat im spatbronzezeitlichem und fruheisenzeitlichem
Griechenland, in: Supplementum Pulpudeva 3, 1978.
11 T. B. L. Webster, From Mycenae to Homer, 1964 2 .
MYCENAEAN PENETRATION INTO NORTHERN GREECE 177
Polypoetes, Gouneus and Prothoos for the Spercheios valley and Thessaly
and the kingdom of Thoas for Aetolia. They will be treated here under
these names, also when I refer to ancestors of the Catalogue Leaders.
Though many differences between the Catalogue and the rest of the
Iliad can be mentioned, the differences for Thessaly are striking. I have
divided the kingdoms mentioned into four categories:
A) Kingdoms where contacts between Mycenaeans (i. e. members of the ruling
family) and non-Mycenaeans are mentioned; Achilles, Polypoetes, Thoas.
B) Kingdoms that attract "soldiers of fortune" (to be explained below) from
other parts of Greece, or have attracted them before; Achilles, Polypoetes
C) Silent kingdoms, that seem to have developed without hostile contacts
between Mycenaeans and non-Mycenaeans in the recent past; Eurypylos,
Eumelos, Protesilaos, the Asklepiads;
D) Very silent kingdoms. There is no reference to them in the rest of the Iliad;
Of the last two kingdoms, little can be said. There are three peoples
mentioned in them and only two cities, which differs as compared to the
other kingdoms as mentioned in the Catalogue.
In the C-category, Eumelos is in a way different from the others. He is
called Anax, which agrees with his seat in Iolkos (present-day Volos,
where the only Northern palace so far has been found), but he does not
participate in the actual fighting. He is only mentioned as a breeder of
horses; he joins the horse race at Patroklos' funeral games.
For the kingdoms of Achilles, Polypoetes and Thoas (A) foundation
legends are known. In Achilles' kingdom the foundation is peaceful, but in
the other two intermarriage between Mycenaeans and the indigenous
population results in fighting; as a result, the latter are ousted from the
kingdom. The Mycenaeans are helped by comrades from southern
territories in both cases and the kingdoms have been pacified before the
In Achilles' kingdom a subjugated tribe, the Dolopes, is mentioned. A
soldier of fortune, as I call it, is appointed by Achilles' father Peleus to
govern them; Achilles himself is recorded to have fought them as well.
For these soldiers of fortune, Phoinix, Peleus himself, Patroklos and
Medon (Philoktetes' kingdom), the same story is told.
All have had to flee from their native lands on having been accused of
manslaughter and all are welcomed in the North and honoured, due to
either their high birth or, more likely, their skill in fighting.
If we assume that the northern kingdoms, apart from Aetolia, are
arranged in a strict geographical order (as elsewhere in the Catalogue),
their boundaries can roughly be defined as follows:
D. W. SMIT
Achilles — The Spercheios-valley, with an open border towards
the mountainous West, leaving room for a non-
Mycenaean people between it and Thoas' kingdom:
Protesilaos — The Coastal plain west of the Volos-bay;
Eumelos — Volos itself and part of the Thessalian plain including
Asklepiads — The upper Peneios and Trikkala district;
Eurypylos — The Enipeus river district;
Polypoetes — The lower Peneios and Tempe-valley;
Gouneus & Prothoos — In these I see representatives of more or less
subjugated peoples that lived in the vicinity of the
Mycenaeans and were willing to join them in warfare.
Their territories are hard to define, but usually
Gouneus is situated west from Polypoetes' kingdom
and Prothoos between Polypoetes and Philoktetes.
There are no problems in situating Thoas in Aetolia. This division is in
agreement with the cities established as certain by Page and Hope
Simpson & Lazenby and the site-concentrations as established by Feuer.
Dodona in Epirus has been included in some lists of identified
Mycenaean settlement. In my opinion, this Dodona, that is described by
Homer 12 as somewhat barbaric, is the Dodona in Thessaly near Skotoussa.
According to Strabo, there is a tradition that the cult site was transferred
from Thessaly to Epirus in pre-classical times. 13
As in Epirus, no Mycenaean kingdom is to be expected in Macedonia
according to Homer. Historical arguments are not sufficient to support any
presence of Mycenaeans in control of any district at the times of the
A northward movement of small groups of merchants, adventurers and
the like is to be expected by the archeological data for Macedonia,
however, and some reflection of this can be seen in the early history of
According to legend, a confict between two groups of settlers in
Polypoetes' kingdom (those who followed Ixios, grandfather of Polypoetes
and those who followed Kaineus) arose, resulting in the achievement of
land by Aigimios, king of the Dorians. 14 As no descendants of Aigimios
are mentioned in the Catalogue, 15 there is a possibility that his descendants
moved further north into Macedonia to return to Southern Greece after
the Trojan War to initiate the so-called Dorian Wanderings. This is,
however, subject to further study.
12 Iliad XVI 234-235.
13 Strabo VII.7.12 and IX.5.20.
14 Diodor of Sicily IV.37.3.
15 One of the representatives of the Kaineus-group, Leonteus, is mentioned in the
MYCENAEAN PENETRATION INTO NORTHERN GREECE 179
Archeological and historical arguments do not contradict each other as
concerns Northern Greece. Where Homer and the legends expect us to
have more or less balanced kingdoms, archeology shows a concentration
of Mycenaean settlements in LH HIA/IIIB. On the other hand, when the
archeological remains are insufficient to expect more than occasional
contacts or small footholds, Homer and the legends provide no kingdoms
or even cities, with the doubtful exception of Dodona mentioned above.
Thracians in Northern Greece
If the Mycenaeans penetrated into Thessaly from the south (no other
route has been actually proven so far), we can expect some information on
their predecessors as well in Greek sources. I have added some historical
arguments to support my opinion that some of the non-Mycenaean
population groups mentioned by Homer and others are actually Thracians.
In historical times, Dolopes, Perrhaiboi and Magnetes are often
mentioned together as second-rate citizens. There seems to be little
difference among them. The city of Gyrton is mentioned by Strabo as a
Perrhaibian and Magnetian city, 16 Perrhaibians and Dolopians are both
reduced in political influence by Philip of Macedon and Thucydides
reports the Dolopians to fight in the way of Thracian peltasts when
defending their homelands in the Peloponnesian War.
The Kentaurs are probably more human and less mythical than is
generally assumed. Diodor of Sicily distinghuishes Kentauroi from Hippo-
kentauroi and the ferryman Nessos, killed by Herakles, 17 can be related on
linguistic grounds to the Thracian river and river-god Nestos.
In Achilles' kingdom Athamanes are mentioned as original inhabitants.
Athamas, founder of the city of Halos in Achilles' kingdom, is a son of
Aiolos, who has been called a Thracian king by Apollodor. 18 Other sons of
Aiolos are Magnes and Pierieres, eponyms of the Magnetes and
Pierierians respectively. I
The city of Dryopis, in historical times situated in the southern
Spercheios valley, is connected by Strabo to the Dryopians. 19 He calls the
Dryopians that he mentions as living in the Troad 20 a Thracian people.
16 Strabo VII, fragment 14. In the same line Gortyn is called the seat of Ixios and
17 Apollodor II, VII 6-7.
18 Apollodor 1.52.
" Strabo IX.5.10.
20 Strabo XIII. 1.8.
D. W. SM1T
The native village of Orpheus is situated near Mount Olympos, a little
north of the territory described. Strabo calls Orpheus a Kikonian and
mentions the Kikonians as Thracians as well. 21 For the Enienes and the
Aethikes (the latter receive the Perrhaiboi after their flight from
Polypoetes' kingdom), no sufficient historical data are present to conclude
whether they are Thracians or not.
Map of Thessaly showing sites identified as cities mentioned by Homer and geographical
subregions in LH IIIA/B after Feuer
21 Strabo VII, fragments 18 & 57. In X.3.17 he actually calls Orpheus a Thracian.
MYCENAEAN THRACE FROM THE FIFTH TILL THE
THIRD CENTURY B.C.
JEANETTE STAKENBORG — HOOGEVEEN
In the Thracian culture of the upper-class from the fifth till the third
century B.C. there are certain characteristic elements that all originate in
the Late Bronze Age or even earlier. A number of modern authors have,
basing themselves on incidental observations, referred to these elements as
In this study the aristocratic culture and ideology of the Thracian
Odrysae have been compared with the Minoan-Mycenaean culture and
ideology for they can only be called identical if it applies to their
respective cultures as a whole.
The following main aspects of the Odrysian culture have been studied:
settlement, sanctuary, burial and burial-customs, religion and the relevant
objects and iconography. The same has been done with the Mycenaean
The outstanding example of a Thracian elite settlement is Seuthopolis,
built by the Odrysian king Seuthes III at the beginning of the last quarter
of the fourth century B.C. The settlement had a natural protection
because it was built on a peninsula formed by the river Toundja (Tonsos),
its artificial defences consisted of a wall with watch-towers.
Despite a number of Greek-Hellenistic influences, like the building of
the houses on so-called insulae, Seuthopolis cannot be called a polis.
Unlike the Greek-Hellenistic cities the houses were built with ample space
between them and they varied in size as well as in plan, but as a rule they
were all spacious and luxurious. Accordingly the largest building was the
palace of the king, that was furthermore situated in a separately fortified
district in the north-east corner, the highest point, of the settlement.
Another vast difference with the Greek-Hellenistic cities was the fact that
the common people lived outside the walls.
JEANETTE STAKENBORG — HOOGEVEEN
So Seuthopolis was clearly a dwelling-place for the Odrysian upper-class
(and necessary craftsmen) in which a hierarchy existed with the king on
the top. The settlement was not a polis, it was a fortress with the aspect of
a city or an "extended tursis".
Seuthes' palace was well defended against possible attacks from inside
the settlement. Two of the walls with watch-towers protecting the palace
were within the fortress. The reason must have been the fact that Seuthes
had to maintain his power over the nobles in his capital. A state, a
"national unity" was very unusual in Thrace. It occurred only when a
strong tribal ruler managed to dominate a number of tribes. In such a case
a "feudal state" emerged, for example the Odrysian empire of which the
Odrysian king acted as overlord over a number of vasal-kings. Seuther III
was a local ruler who had succeeded in extending his power by resisting
the Macedonian invaders.
Seuthes even started his own mint to make himself politically more
independent of the Macedonians and, at first, to make his rule as king
more popular. The numerous foreign coins together with those of Seuthes
furthermore mark Seuthopolis as an economic center of importance.
Another distinctive feature of Seuthopolis is the fact that every house had
an altar (clay, overlaid with plaster) situated in the centre of a separate
room, a house-sanctuary. The altars, so-called escharai, are known from
the Middle and Late Bronze Age.
The great hall in the palace and one of the adjoining chambers had an
altar each. In the second room an inscription was found from which it can
be inferred that this room was the sanctuary of the Cabeiroi or the Great
Gods of Samothrace. It is clear that the royal residence was a palace-
temple, so Seuthes was a priest-king. This is the irrefutable archaeological
and epigraphical corroboration of the historical authors who more than
once mention the institution of the priest-king in Thrace. The inscription
also mentions a temple of the god Dionysos and an altar dedicated to him
on the agora. So apart from the sanctuaries situated in a natural scenery
the Thracians are known to have had, they also knew the palace-iemple,
the separate temple-building, the house-sanctuary and the open-air altar.
From the evidence it can also be concluded that Seuthopolis was a
Burials and burial-customs
The upper-class of Seuthopolis was buried in stone-built graves under
tumuli, while the common people were cremated and buried in urns. Two
of the tumuli contained a beehive-or tholos-tomb, dating from the last
MYCENAEAN THRACE FROM THE FIFTH TILL THE THIRD CENTURY B.C. 183
decades of the fourth century B.C. Both were robbed and destroyed in
Antiquity. One tomb consisted of a dromos (passage), a stomion
(antechamber), and a tholos (round domed chamber), the other one of a
dromos and a tholos. Near this second tomb the skeleton of a dog and
parts of a horse's skeleton with a bit in its mouth were discovered. Herodo-
tus mentions sacrifices at the grave (Hist. V 8). Both the tholos-tombs
were built of bricks that were especially baked for their construction.
A number of tholos-tombs have been excavated in Thrace, a very
famous one being the tomb at Mezek that has justly been compared with
the so-called Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae. The tholoi in Thrace show
variations in size, plan, building material and methods, but they are all
related to the beehive-tombs in the Late Bronze Age and even earlier in
Minoan-Mycenaean territory. They were reserved only for the highest
members of society. In all probability they were an Odrysian tradition, the
earliest found so far dating from the sixth century B.C.
Only one other tholos-tomb was built of the same bricks as those in the
necropolis of Seuthopolis, namely the tomb at Kazanlak, famous for its
mural paintings. This tomb was also robbed. The bricks together with the
decoration system of the grave-chamber that is the same as that of the
great hall in the palace of Seuthopolis, and the date, very end of the
fourth century B.C., coinciding with the date of Seuthes' death, leave no
doubt that Seuthes III was buried here. The site must have been chosen
for its view over the valley.
The paintings in Seuthes' grave confirm what the classical authors tell us
about the Thracian ideology and burial-customs. On the walls of the
dromos fighting scenes are depicted. Herodotus (Hist. II 67; V 6) informs
us that fighting and raiding were the life-fulfillment of the Thracians. Only
those who could afford such a way of life, the nobility, counted. The hunt
was very popular too. The fighting scenes served as a "biography" of
Seuthes as well as a depiction of the funeral games that are described by
Herodotus (Hist. V 8). Contests were held with prizes for the winners. On
the vault in the tholos, above the main scene, a chariot-race is painted,
another part of the funeral-games. The chariots are two-wheeled vehicles,
each with one unarmed charioteer and drawn by two horses depicted in
"flying gallop". The use of the chariot was only reserved for the nobility
too, because they were expensive in maintenance.
The main scene depicts the holy marriage between Seuthes, who has
apparently just arrived in his chariot, and the woman seated next to him
on a throne. The position of their hands too show that here she is more
important than the king. The band beneath this scene is decorated with
bull's heads. They show that the woman is none other than the Mother-
Goddess. Bulls, bull's-heads and horns have been her symbols of fertility
184 JEANETTE STAKENBORG — HOOGEVEEN
since the Early Minoan period. Literary sources mention the marriage
between the Odrysian king Kotys I and the goddess Athena as mother-
goddess of Athens. Another depiction of the hierogamy, on a silver
plaque belonging to the Letnitsa treasure, shows the Thracian god-Heros
with the Mother-Goddess.
Most of the religious objects and a large part of the religious iconography
in Thrace originate in the Late Bronze Age or even earlier, for example
the bull's-heads (and the bull's-head rhyta), in Seuthopolis the concave
altars and the double axe on stamps on pithoi and snakes. The majority of
the symbols were signs of or associated with the Aegean Mother-Goddess.
On depictions of the god-Heros, found everywhere in Thrace, his
multitudinous functions are shown by, among others, the tree, the altar,
the woman, the snake, the star and the lion. But they also point to his
connection with the Goddess who shared a lot of her functions with him.
She was, however, not the supreme deity in Thrace.
The main cult in Seuthopolis was that of the Megaloi Theoi of
Samothrace or the Cabeiroi, the chief priest of which was the king. In
historical times the Great Gods were always connected with a goddess
who appeared as their mother and/or their bride. The Megaloi Theoi were
merged with the Dioscuri who in their turn were equated with Heros as
early as (or even long before) the fourth century B.C., shown by the finds
in the Bashova Mogila at Douvanly. This equation was due to the fact that
they shared a number of functions: both the Dioscuri and Heros were
deities on horseback, patrons of fertility, fighters, healers and hunters.
Both often carried two spears. Most important is that the Dioscuri
combined both aspects of the Thracian religion: mortality (Dionysos) and
A symbol of the Dioscuri was the star. They shared it with Hermes,
also one of the Megaloi Theoi and called the husband of Demeter
(= Mother Earth). Hermes was the royal aspect of the Heros and the
Thracian royalty considered him as their forefather (Herodotus Hist, V 7).
As seen, both the Heros and the Thracian king are depicted as husbands
of the Mother-Goddess. The Thracians made in fact no distinction
between the god and the king. So the hierogamy-scenes depict the Heros/
king as progenitor of the Thracians. His partner, the Goddess, was thus
the mother and wife of the king.
Originally she was the superior deity. Women played a major role in
her chthonic cult. However,^ in the Late Bronze Age, the god Dionysos
became dominant at the expense of the women. This is reflected in the
MYCENAEAN THRACE FROM THE FIFTH TILL THE THIRD CENTURY B.C. 185
myth of Orpheus who introduced the solar aspect in the cult, which meant
that only men could become immortal. But the Mother-Goddess was too
important to be dismissed altogether. So the holy marriage between her
and an inferior male deity to ensure fertility was usurped by the Thracian
ruler/Heros. He became her husband and her son. In that way fertility was
still safeguarded while at the same time his rule was legitimized because it
derived from the Goddess. The real power was in the hands of the king,
the Heros, which is probably best illustrated by the fact that they are
almost always depicted on horseback. The horse was not only a solar
symbol and a symbol of the netherworld, it was also a sign of political,
economic and military power.
In 1600 B.C. the Mycenaeans invaded Crete and the Greek mainland.
They forcefully took over power and put their mark on the indigenous
culture, but on the other hand they themselves were influenced by the
Minoan civilization on Crete. The outcome was the Minoan-Mycenaean
Until 1400 B.C. the Mycenaeans at Knossos dominated Crete and the
mainland, after the destruction of Knossos the mainland-Mycenaeans took
The Mycenaeans on the mainland lived in fortresses with heavy walls on
low hills that provided a natural protection. Only the king, his family, the
nobility and necessary craftsmen lived there. The common people lived
outside the fortress in open settlements on the neighbouring hills. The
upper-class lived in houses that were built according to their status. The
palace on top of the hill was the largest building. It had an extra defence
of heavy walls that were erected also within the fortress to protect it
against inside betrayal.
So from the plan it can be inferred that the Mycenaean upper-class was
hierarchically organized. The king, the wanax, was the top. This is also
testified by the Linear B tablets who mention the wahax on top of the list,
which means he is the most important person. Homer who tells us about
the Late Bronze Age, describes a society in which the nobility plays the
only part. The Mycenaean society can best be called a "feudal" society,
for the Mycenaean wanax was overlord over the basilees, his local vasal-
The Mycenaean fortresses were thus political/administrative centers in
which the king and the Mycenaean nobility resided.
186 JEANETTE STAKENBORG
The fortresses, and the palaces on Crete, were commercial centers as
well. They contained magazines and stores and the Linear B tablets show
that goods and products were delivered under supervision of the
The palace at Knossos was pervaded by religious elements, especially its
western half. The same is the case with the palaces on the mainland.
There were various rooms used as shrines and frescoes that depict
religious practices. The "palace of Nestor" at Pylos, for instance,
contained a sanctuary of the goddess Potnia and an open-air altar.
After 1400 the throne-room-complex was built in the Mycenaean
palaces. From the clay altar (great, round, with painted stucco layers,
some stamped with a cord) in the throne-room that was placed directly
opposite the throne and the canals found near the throne that were used
for libations, it can be inferred that the wanax was a priest-king. Homer
too testifies the existence of priest-kings among the Mycenaeans (Od. Ill
Apart from the palace-temple, the house-shrine and the open air-altar
the Mycenaeans knew buildings especially erected for religious purposes,
for example the cult-center on the western half of the acropolis at
Burials and burial-customs
Several modern authors have already shown that the Thracian tholos-
tombs are derived from the Mycenaean ones. It suffices here to say that
the Mycenaean tholoi also were made into underground-constructions by a
covering hill and that they also differed in size, plan, building methods
and material. The Mycenaeans built their beehive-tombs after Cretan
example, but they changed the way of using them: while the Cretans
buried a whole clan or genos in the tomb, the Mycenaeans made it into an
elite affair: only the highest nobility was buried in the tholos-tomb, near
the fortress and preferably with a view over the surrounding territory. The
common people were buried in chamber-graves.
Most of the tholos-tombs have been robbed, so from them little can be
learned about the burial-customs. Homer however describes the funeral of
Patroclos (Ilias XXIII 127 ff.). He mentions a funeral procession,
sacrifices of sheep, dogs and horses, and funeral games (Ilias XXIII
257 ff.). The victors of these games are rewarded with prizes. One part of
the games is the chariot-race.
MYCENAEAN THRACE FROM THE FIFTH TILL THE THIRD CENTURY B.C. 187
The chariot was a two-wheeled vehicle introduced by the Mycenaeans
on Crete and the Greek mainland. Their use is proven by the Mycenaean
iconography, Homer and the Linear B tablets. They were only reserved
for the members of the upper-class. The popularity of chariots in art, for
instance on wall-paintings in the palaces and a vase-painting showing the
horses in flying gallop, shows how much prestige was attached to them.
Only four beehive-tombs were found partly intact, one of them the
tholos-tomb at Dendra. The king buried here was surrounded by his
weapons, and the decorations on his helmet were found, so he had clearly
been a warrior. This comes as no surprise to us, for the Mycenaean love
of war and hunting is shown by the numerous depictions of hunting and
fighting scenes. On top of that Homer calls the Myrmidones "war-loving"
and the warrior ideology is also clearly to be seen in the Odyssey when
Odysseus makes himself accepted and respected by the Mycenaean
Phaiakes by telling them of his heroic deeds. In the Dendra-tomb also
various objects and ornamentations can be seen that point directly to a
divinity: numerous depictions of bulls, even bulls with a figure, probably a
woman, on their back, two curved bull's-horns, each one with pegs at the
base for insertion which shows their cult-purpose, further a figure of 8-
shield, lions, goats, and a tree are to be found. Especially the bulls and
the horns point to the Mother-Goddess.
The religion of the Mycenaeans was influenced by the Minoan religion to
such an extent that we refer to it as the Minoan-Mycenaean religion. The
Mycenaeans took over the worship of the supreme deity of the Minoans,
the Mother-Goddess. Before 1600 B.C. she dominated all aspects of life
and death. As fertility-goddess she had the bull as her symbol, as Mistress
of the Animals she was depicted standing on a peak flanked by two lions,
she was Mistress of plants and trees, patroness of marriage and as snake-
goddess she protected the home. Her altars had a hollow in the centre.
She was worshipped in caves and on mountain-tops, later also in temple-
buildings. In her cult the natural rock played an important part, stressing
her chthonic aspect. The Lustral Basin in the palace at Knossos was
dedicated to her. Apart from the bulls, her symbols were the tree of life,
the snake, the star, the pillar, the dove, the lion, the griffon, the double
axe, the trident, depictions of her concave and convex altars, etc.
After 1600 B.C. we still find her symbols on seals and the Lion-Gate at
Mycenae, constructed after 1400 B.C., is another proof of her importance.
The cult-center on the west slope of the acropolis of Mycenae even
contained a "Minoan" sanctuary dedicated to one goddess and a sanctuary
188 JEANETTE STAKENBORG — HOOGEVEEN
that despite its Mycenaean character must have been dedicated to her in
her chthonic aspect: the natural rock had been incorporated in the
interior. Furthermore coiled snakes made of clay were found here, the
only known parallels being two coiled snakes made of lead discovered in
However, in 1600 B.C. the temples of the Goddess were destroyed by
the Mycenaeans, for in their male-dominated society a female supreme
deity was intolerable. But they could not destroy her utterly because she
was needed to provide them with the ideological justification of their rule
over the highly civilized Minoans. The Minoan deities, mostly female,
were connected with the Mycenaean ones, mostly male and it was only
natural that the Mycenaean supreme deity was paired with the Minoan
supreme Goddess. At the same time the Goddess became his inferior.
This is to be seen in the Linear B tablets where she is mentioned after
Poseidon. All that was left to her was a say in religious matters and even
in these she was overruled by the Mycenaean god. The real power,
political, economic and religious, was in the hands of the wanax as
representative of the supreme god. This is reflected in Homer who
describes the relation between wanax and god as a political one, while the
relation wanax-Goddess is merely a personal one, for example Odysseus
and the goddess Athena.
The connection between the deities must have been accompanied by a
change in rites. After 1600 B.C. the Mycenaeans built the Throne-room-
complex with the "Throne-room" in the western half of the palace of
Knossos and replaced the Lustral Basin in function by the throne with the
griffin-fresco. Helga Reusch has made it very plausible by comparing the
seals with the Mother-Goddess standing on top of a mountain flanked by
two lions or griffins with the throne flanked by two griffins who even rest
with their front paws on her concave altar, that the person seated on the
throne personified the Goddess. Jan Best proposes that the legitimization
of the new rule was provided by a marriage between the Mycenaean ruler
and a Minoan queen or princess. Combined with the fact that the wanax
was the representative of the Mycenaean god and the fact that the
Minoans before 1600 B.C. celebrated the holy marriage between the
Mother-Goddess and a god of lower rank to ensure fertility, it is very
temping to think of a holy marriage-ceremony in the Throne-room
between the Mycenaean supreme god and the Mother-Goddess personified
by the wanax and the Minoan royal priestess. This hypothesis is supported
by the myth of Theseus and Ariadne (= Thou very sacred One).
The archaeological, epigraphical and literary evidence shows that both the
Thracian Odrysae and the Mycenaeans had, when politically united, a
MYCENAEAN THRACE FROM THE FIFTH TILL THE THIRD CENTURY B.C. 189
"feudal" society with an overlord and vasal-kings. In both societies
fighting and hunting were the most cherished occupations, naturally
reserved for the rich members of the upper-class who played the decisive
In both cultures the elite lived, hierarchically ordered with the king at
the top, in fortresses with an extra fortified palace. These fortresses were
political, economic and religious centers.
In both societies the highest members were buried in graves that
differed from those of the common people. Their burials were
accompanied by sacrifices and funeral games.
In both cultures politics were strongly interwoven with religion. The
king, whose palace functioned as a temple as well, was the chief priest of
the main cult. He was the representative, even the personification of the
supreme male deity. The Mother-Goddess, originally the chief deity, was
forced into a subject position. Both Thracians and Mycenaeans used her
to legitimize their rule by usurping the holy marriage.
We can conclude that the Odrysae from the fifth till the third century
B.C. had the same ideology as the Mycenaeans and that they must have
taken over the Minoan-Mycenaean expressions of their common ideas,
either by way of trade or in Crete and Greece, as early as the Late Bronze
Age: the tholos-tomb, the chariot, the altar, a number of objects and the
religious symbolism and their respective use and meaning are the same as
those of the Mycenaeans a thousand years earlier.
The Odrysae themselves were aware of this. The founder of the
Odrysian empire, Teres, was a descendant of Tereus, king of the
Thracians in Phocis in the Late Bronze Age. This Tereus married Procne,
the daughter of king Pandion of Athens. Seuthes II still considered his
people as kinsmen of the Athenians (Xenophon Anabasis VII, 2, 31), so
the memory of the early contacts between Mycenaeans and Thracians was
still kept alive.
After the fall of the Mycenaeans it was left to the Thracians to carry on
the tradition and they succeeded until far in historical times. But how they
brought this about is a problem that remains to be solved.
JEANETTE STAKENBORG — HOOGEVEEN
Blegen, C. W., and others, The Palace of Nestor in Western Messenia, Princeton 1973.
Branigan, K., The Tombs of Mesara. A Study of Funerary Architecture and Ritual in
Southern Crete. 2800-1700 B.C., London 1970.
Crouwel, J. H., Chariots and Other Means of Land Transport in Bronze Age Greece,
Deubner, L., Attische Feste, Berlin 1956.
Dietrich, B. C, Evidence of Minoan Religious Traditions and Their Survival in the
Mycenaean and Greek World, in: Historia XXXI 1982 Heft 1.
Dimitrov, D. P., Ciclkova, M., The Thracian City of Seuthopolis. BAR Supplementary
Series 38, Sofia 1978.
Filow, B. D., Die Kuppelgraber von Mezek, in: Homenaje A Julio Martinez Santa-Olalla,
Vol. II, Madrid 1947.
idem, Die Grabhugelnekropole bei Duvanlij in Siidbulgarien, Sofia 1934.
Fol, A., Venedikov, I., Marazov, I., Popov, D., 'Thracian Legends, Sofia 1976.
Hemberg, B., Die Kabiren, Uppsala 1950.
Marazov, I., The Rhyta of Ancient Thrace, Sofia 1978.
Mirie, S., Das Thronraumareal des Palastes von Knossos, Bonn 1977.
Mylonas, G. E., The Cult Center of Mycenae, Athens 1972.
idem, Mycenae and the Mycenaean Age, Princeton 1966.
Nilsson, M. P., The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its Survival in Greek Religion, Lund,
etc. 1968 2 .
Page, D. L., History and the Homeric Iliad. Sather Classical Lectures, Vol. 31, Berkeley and
Los Angeles 1959.
Palmer, L. R., The Interpretation of Mycenaean Greek Texts, Oxford 1963.
Persson, A. W., The Royal Tombs at Dendra near Midea, Lund, etc. 1931.
Puhvel, J., Helladic Kingship and the Gods, in: Minoica, Festschrift Sundwall, 1958,
p. 327 ff.
Reden, S. von, Best, J. G. P., Auf der Spur der ersten Griechen. Woher kamen die
Mykener? Neue archaologische Erkenntnisse iiber die Herkunft der Griechen, Koln
Reusch, H., Zum Wandschmuck des Thronsaales in Knossos, in: Minoica, Festschrift
Sundwall, 1958, p. 334 ff.
Taylour, W., The Mycenaeans, London 1964.
idem, Mycenae, in: Antiquity XLIII, 1969.
idem, New Light on Mycenaean Religion, in: Antiquity XLIV, 1970.
idem, The House with the Idols, Mycenae, and Its Chronological Implications, in: AJA 75,
Vassiliev, A., Das antike Grabmal bei Kasanlak, Sofia, Koln, Bern 1959.
Ventris, M., Chadwick, J., Documents in Mycenaean Greek, Cambridge 1957.
Wace, A. J. B., The Tholos Tombs at Mycenae: Structural Analysis. Appendix IV in:
Persson, see above,
idem, Mycenae. An Archaeological History and Guide, New York 1964.
Webster, T. B. L. , From Mycenae to Homer, London 1958.
Wiesner, J., Die Thraker. Studien zu einem versunkenen Volk des Balkanraumes, Stuttgart
THRACIANS, LUWIANS AND GREEKS
IN BRONZE AGE CENTRAL GREECE*
F. C. WOUDHUIZEN
Part I: The Pre-Greek Population Groups
In a series of comprehensive studies dedicated to the subject, it has
convincingly been pointed out by Jan Best that the introduction of Minyan
Ware, which took place in two successive waves, one during the EH II/III
transitional period, c. 2200 B.C. (Lerna, Kirrha), and another during the
EH III/MH I transitional period, c. 2000 B.C. (Eleusis, Eutresis), was due
to proto-Thracian immigrants colonizing the Greek peninsula from the
northern Balkans, where this particular pottery culture is already attested
for the preceding period. 1
In addition to this it is noteworthy that a specific group of pre-Greek
geographic names, e.g.: Aulis, Daulis, Doris, Kopais limne, Phokis, etc.
— of which some, like A.bantis, Dryopis, Phlegyantis and Hyantis, are
clearly derived from pre-Greek tribal names — is characterized by a non-
Greek suffix -id-. 2 For this suffix is such a common feature of geographic
names known from historical Thrace — especially in case these, like
Apsinthis, Edonis, Thunis, Mygdonis, Musis, Odomantis and Sinteis, are
derived from Thracian tribal names 3 — that a Thracian origin can safely
be ascribed to it."
Now, although Minyan Ware is of course by far the most numerous
during the MH period, the EH III/MH I transitional period (c. 2000 B.C.)
* The English version of the manuscript was kindly read and, wherever possible,
corrected by Mr. J. Woudhuizen. During my work on this reading useful suggestions and
valuable help concerning the content were given by Dr. J. G. P. Best, Prof. Dr. Ph. H. J.
Houwink ten Cate, Mr. D. Smit, Prof. Dr. C. J. Kuijgh and Dr. F. Waanders. It in only
natural that I thank them all for their efforts.
' J. G. P. Best and Y. Yadin, The Arrival of the Greeks, Publications of the Henri
Frankfort Foundation, Volume 1, Amsterdam 1973, pp. 13-22; J. G. P. Best and S. von
Reden, Auf der Spur der ersten Griechen, Woher kamen die Mykener?, Koln 1981, first
section; see also Bibliography for other articles on the subject.
2 M. Meier, -id-, Zur Geschichle eines griechischen Nominalsuffixes, Gottingen 1975,
p. 17: "Die Herkunft von -id- ist trotz verschiedenen Erklarungsversuchen dunkel". (Dr. F.
Waanders was so kind to draw my attention to this monograph.)
3 D. Detchew, Die Thrakischen Sprachreste, Wien 1976 2 , s.v.
4 Cf. J. G. P. Best, "Thrakische Namen in mykenischer Schrift". in: Proceedings of the
Fourth International Congress of Thracology, Rotterdam 1984.
192 F - C - WOUDHUIZEN
is marked off from the former by the introduction of Matt Painted Ware. 5
This pottery culture made its appearance in mainland Greece simultane-
ously with some imported (Lerna) or locally imitated (Eutresis) Middle
Minoan la Ware, which was connected with the first great surge of
palace-building in Crete 6 as a result of the extension of the proto-
Phoenician colonization to the central and western parts of the island at
Fig. 1. Stratified finds of early matt painted ware (EH III/MH I)
• small amounts ■ substantial amounts
5 R. A. van Royen and B. H. Isaac, The Arrival of the Greeks, The 'Evidence from the
Settlements, Publications of the Henri Frankfort Foundation, Volume 5, Amsterdam 1979,
6 J. L. Caskey, "Excavations at Lerna", Hesperia XXIX, 1960, p. 303. Cf. H. Goldman,
Excavations at Eutresis in Boeotia, Cambridge/Massachusetts 1931, p. 186.
THRAOANS, LUWIANS AND GREEKS IN BRONZE AGE CENTRAL GREECE 193
this time, 7 and is said to originate from the Cyclades 8 or possibly south-
west Anatolia, where its most characteristic forms — e.g.: duck askos,
spout with basket handle — and decoration motifs are paralleled (see
Figure l). 9
A less uncertain connection with Anatolia, on the other hand, is
provided by the pre-Greek geographic names on -ss- and -nth-l-nd, of
which the distribution-pattern, in covering southern and western Greece,
the Cyclades and central (Knossos, Tylissos, Labyrinthos, Amnisos,
Karnessopolis, Pyranthos, Rhytiassos) and western (Berekynthos, Poikilas-
sos) Crete, strikingly corresponds to that of the Matt Painted Ware. 10 For
these suffixes have been proved convincingly by E. Laroche to belong to
"une couche linguistique indo-europeenne non-grecque" of Anatolian
7 J. G. P. Best, "Von Piktographisch zu Linear B — Beitrage zur Linear A-Forschung",
Supplementum Epigraphicum Mediterraneum, Talanta 13, 1981, p. 9.
8 R. J. Buck, "Middle Helladic Mattpainted pottery", Hesperia XXXIII, 1964, p. 301f.
9 a. Duck askos: Buck, op. cit., p. 288; Goldman, op. tit., p. 161: "in view of its
prevalence in Anatolia", and fig. 223 (painted wings); cf. S. Lloyd and J. Mellaart,
Beycesultan II, London 1965, p. 93, fig. P. 11 (with wings).
b. Spout with basket handle: Buck, op. cit., p. 286; H. Goldman, Excavations at Gozlu
Kule, Tarsus II, Princeton, New Jersey 1956, p. 164, no 868: side spouted vessel with basket
handle amongst the Syrian pottery forms newly introduced during the EBA/MBA transitional
period. Cf. Mellaart, op. tit., p. 89 and fig. P. 8, no 5: newly introduced during the EBA/
MBA transitional period.
c. Decoration motifs: Goldman, Eutresis, p. 235: "(. . .) or if one may for once be
permitted the luxury of a largely unsubstantiated guess, I believe, when we are better
informed about the chronology of Anatolian painted wares, the Matt Painted of the islands
and indirectly of the mainland, will be found to have its roots in that region."
Correspondences between the painted" ware, newly introduced from Syria (Goldman,
Tarsus II, p. 165), in Tarsus and Matt Painted Ware:
1. chessboard: Tarsus II,
2. hatched triangles:
3. hatched double triangles:
4. striped triangles:
5. double axe
6. dotted double axe with two verti- nos 781, 796,
cat crossbars at either side: 859 = no 34 (except for the dots)
In Beycesultan there is no painted pottery during the MBA, see Mellaart, op. cit., p. 93.
In view of the Syrian origin of the pottery forms and decoration motifs newly introduced at
Tarsus c. 2000 B.C., it is interesting to note that Luwian presence in the Syro-Palestine
coastal region during the preceding period is indicated by the appearance of Rwqq (=Luku)
in a hieroglyphic inscription from Byblos, dated before ?000 B.C., see G. A. Wainwright,
"Some Sea-Peoples", Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 47, 1961, p. 71, note 5.
1D J. B. Haley, "The Coming of the Greeks. The Geographic Distribution of the Pre-
Greek Place Names", American Journal of Archaeology 32, 1928, p. 142; C. W. Blegen,
"The Coming of the Greeks. The Geographic Distribution of the Prehistoric Remains in
Greece", ibid., p. 148.
no 25 (cf.
Eutresis, p. 157,
219; p. 168, no
nos 867, 875 =
no 33 (cf.
Eutresis, p. 171,
F. C. WOUDHUIZEN
origin, in other words: Hittite or Luwian." From his comprehensive lists of
these place-names in Bronze Age Anatolia, however, it can be deduced
that -nth-l-nd-, in contrast to -ss-, is markedly confined to the south-west
Anatolian regions Cappadocia, Lycaonia, Isauria, Pisidia and Lycia —
from which Caria in view of Millawanda, Labraynda, Alabanda,
Karyanda, Iyalanda, etc., cannot be excluded! 12 — , occupied by (west-)
Luwians (see Figure 2). 13
Fig. 2. Distribution of placenames on -ss- and -nth-/-nd- in the Aegean
11 E. Laroche, "Etudes de Toponymie Anatolienne", Revue Hittite et Asianique 69, 1961,
p. 91; cf. E. Laroche, "Notes de Toponymie Anatolienne", in: Gedenkschrift Paul
Kretschmer II, Wien 1957, p. 7 (Prof. Dr. Ph. H. J. Houwink ten Cate kindly enabled me to
make use of the latter article).
12 See Table I. Other arguments in favour of Carian as a Luwian dialect are:
a. The epiklesis of Dionysos in Caria is Masaris, which may be compared to masara,
corresponding to Greek theois pasin in a bilingual inscription from Side (no 1, 3rd century B.
C, see F. C. Woudhuizen, "Origins of the Sidetic Script", Talanta 16-17, 1984-1985,
passim), and is seemingly derived from the Luwian root massa(nali) -"god"; cf. also Lycian
maha-lmuha- (= Lye. B masa-), ibid.
b. In a Carian inscription from Caunos, reading: poruth Achchel Rmth (see J.G.P. Best,
"Zur Herkunft des Diskos von Phaistos", Supplementum Epigraphicum Mediterraneum,
Talanta 13, 1981, p. 49), the family name Rmth (cf. south-Etruscan Ramtha\) is clearly
related with the Luwian GN Ru(mlnt)- (see Ph. H. J. Houwink ten Cate, The Luwian
Population Groups of Lycia and Cilicia Aspera during the Hellenistic Period, Leiden 1961,
" Laroche, Etudes, p. 72: -nda; ibid., Notes, p. 7, sub 1: -ssa.
THRACIANS, LUWIANS AND GREEKS IN BRONZE AGE CENTRAL GREECE 195
If this is correct, the combined presence of both these suffixes in Greece
is probably due to former (west-)Luwian inhabitants, who can most
plausibly be identified with the bearers of the Matt Painted culture here.
Apparently, then, the archaeological and linguistic material leads us to
the conclusion that Greece was inhabited by Thracians and (west-)Luwians
during the Middle Bronze Age. It now remains to investigate whether
these views are confirmed by literary evidence, taking central Greece as
According to literary tradition Boeotia was once occupied by barbarous
tribes, of which the Hyantes, Phlegyans, Aones and Leleges were most
The Hyantes lived along the southern shore of lake Kopais, in
Alalkomenai, 15 Onchestos 16 and Thebes. 17 At the arrival of Kadmos — who
is clearly associated with the first Greeks 18 — and his Phoenicians they
were forced to leave to Phokis, where they founded a city Hyampolis,™
and to Aitolia, which was formerly called Hyantis after them. 20 As there
are also traces of their presence on the Parnassos in Hyamos, the son of
the mythical founder of Lykoreia, 21 and Hyampeia, the name of a
mountain top in the vicinity of Kastalia, 22 it seems likely that they are to
be identified with the Thracians who, according to Strabo, fled hither. 23
The region of Orchomenos on the western shore of the Kopaic lake was
inhabited by the Phlegyans. 2 * Their territory probably extended to the
north of the lake, where the village of Almones was founded by their
mythical ancestor Almos. 25 Now, apart from an intermediary form Halmos
u D. Fimmen, "Die Besiedlung Bootiens bis in friihgriechische Zeit", Neue Jahrbucher,
Band 29, 1912, pp. 535-540.
15 Steph. Byz., $. v. Hyantes.
16 Schol. Apoll. Rhod. Ill, 1242.
17 Paus. IX, 5, 1-2; X, 35, 4.
18 Best-von Reden, Auf der Spur, p. 188.
19 Paus., ibid.; cf. Apoll. Rhod. Ill, 1242, where the supremacy of the invading Greeks is
strikingly depicted in Poseidon driving his chariot through the grove of Onchestos. Note that
the dating of the foundation of Hyas (= Hyampolis) by Strab. X, 2, 3 in the period of the
Greek colonization of Asia Minor (c. 1050 B.C.) is evidently wrong, because Hyampolis is
already mentioned by Homer in his Catalogue of the Ships (II. II, 521), describing the
political situation on the eve of the Trojan War (13th century B.C., c. 1280 B.C. according
to the latest opinions).
20 Steph. Byz., s.v.; Strab.. X, 3, 4.
21 Paus. X, 6, 2; cf. Schol. Eur. Or. 1094: founder of Hyampolis.
22 Herod. VIII, 39; Plut. VII, 557A-B.
23 Strab. IX, 2, 3; cf. P.G. van Soesbergen, "Thracian' Onomastica in Mycenaean Linear
B", in: Ancient Bulgaria, Nottingham 1983, p. 202.
24 Horn. Hymn. Pyth. Apoll., 277-8; seemingly before the Greek colonisation of Thebes
on account of ibid., 225-8.
25 Paus. IX, 34, 10; 36, 1.
196 F. C. WOUDHUIZEN
in Thessalian Halmonia, occupied by the Phlegyans at the end of the
Bronze Age, 2 * this name appears in its original form Salmos in the
historical Thracian placename Salmydessos. 21 This link between the Bronze
Age Phlegyans and historical Thrace is seemingly reinforced by the fact
that the Orchomenian royal house is, on account of names like Phryxos
and Azeus, particularly related to the Phrygians. 7 * So in this light it may
safely be assumed that the memory of the Thracian king residing at
Tegyra, situated next to Orchomenos, refers to a Phlegyan ruler. 2 *
The Aones dwelled in the region to the east of Thebes, where the
Aonion pedion still bears witness of their former presence. 30 On the
analogy of Almos being derived from Salmos, their eponymous heros Aon
may very well be identified with Saon, who figures in Boeotia as a
mythical priest of the oracle of Ptoan Apollo at Akraiphnion, situated in
the mountains to the north of the Aonion plain, 31 but is especially linked
up with Samothrake as the eponymous heros of the Thracian Saoi.* 1
Moreover, the second name of the latter tribe, Sapai or Sapaioi, 13 which is
said to be derived from the Thracian GN Sabazios* has its southern
variant in Abantes — a Thracian tribe living on the other side of the
Euripus in Euboia at the time of the Trojan War, 35 with whom the Saoi
are actually identified by Marazov. 36 Taking into consideration, then, that
Abantes is, mutatis mutandis, just another name of the Boeotian Aones, it
seems likely that at least part of this tribe fled before Kadmos and his
invading army with the Hyantes to Phokis, where they founded a city Abai
next to Hyampolis, 37 whilst others may have taken refuge to Euboia and,
perhaps later, to the north Aegean islands.
The Aones probably shared their territory with the Leleges, for these
are also testified to inhabit the coastal regions of southern Greece
26 Horn. II. XIII, 302; Fimmen, op at., p. 538.
27 W. Pape and G. E. Benseler, Worterbuch der Griechischen Eigennamen, Braunschweig
1911, s.v. Almos; Detschew, Sprachresle, p. 414 (Salmydessos) and p. 13 (Halmydessos).
28 Paus. IX, 34, 7 (Phryxos); Horn. II. II, 513 and Paus. IX, 37, 1 (Azeus); cf. Paus. VIII,
4, 3 (Azan, Azania).
29 Apollod. Ill, 15, 4: Eumolpos and his son Ismaros fled to him, probably at the time of
the Minoan invasion of the Megarid, with which Aigeus is seemingly associated (Paus. I, 39,
4-5), and the subsequent destruction of Eleusis (c. 1600 B.C.) (van Royen-Isaac, Arrival,
30 Pauly-Wissowa Realencyclopadie (=P.W.), s.v. Aon.
31 Paus. IX, 40, 1; cf. Herod. VIII, 133-5 for the relation of the oracle of Lebadeia with
32 P. W. , s.v. Kabeiroi (on Samothrake), whose mysteries are said to originate from
Thebes; Strab. X, 2, 17; cf. Aooi: GN on Samothrake, see Hesych., s.v.
33 Strab. XII, 3, 20.
34 P. W., s.v. Sapaioi (Supplement VI; cf. Supplement la, s.v. Sabos: Saboi (masc.)ISabai
(fem.) = worshippers of Sabazios).
35 Horn II. II, 536-45; Strab. X, 1, 3.
36 A. Fol and I. Marazov, Thrace and the Thracians, London 1977, p. 24.
37 Strab. ibid.
THRACIANS, LUWIANS AND GREEKS IN BRONZE AGE CENTRAL GREECE 197
(Argolid, Messenia) and the Megarid 38 — where they are identified with
the Carians 39 — but are mainly at home in the Cyclades and the south-
west Anatolian regions Lydia, Caria and Pisidia. 40 As it can even be added
to this that their territory in the Troad corresponds exactly to that of the
Cilices, 41 who were obviously responsible for the names on -ss- (Assos,
Lyrnessos) and -nth- (Sminthe) in this region (see Figure 2), it is apparently
indicated that the Leleges are to be looked upon as west-Luwian
Now, at this point it is interesting to note that the Pelasgoi, who
according to Strabo fled from Boeotia to Athens and settled at the foot of
the Hymettos, 42 are identified by Thucydides with the Tyrrhenoi
(= Tyrsenoi or Tarsenoi), occupying Lemnos and Chalkidike during the
historical period, 43 because it is quite easily deduced from a comparison of
figure 3 below with figure 2 above that they, too, must be held responsible
for the geographic names on -ss- (Thyssos, Assa, Kabassos, Marpessos)
and -nth- (Olynthos, Akanthos, Zerynthos, Bisanthe, Perinthos) in the
North Aegean region and, on the testimony of Herodotos, 44 the
Hellespont, thus bringing them within the range of the west-Luwian
population groups. 45 If the latter assumption is correct, the flight of the
38 P. W., s.v. Leleges; Strab. VIII, 6, 15 (Hermione and Epidauros in the Argolid); Paus
IV, 1, 1; 36, 1 (Messenia); Paus. I, 39, 5; 40, 5; 44, 3-5 (Megara).
39 Cf. Herod. I, 171.
40 Cyclades: Herod. I, 171; Tralles in Lydia: Plut. Quaest. Graec. 46; Milete and Caria:
Horn. II. II, 868f, Strab. VII, 7, 2; Pisidia: Strab. XII, 7, 3.
The Lydian GN's Asia (Lyd. no 40: Asi,il (=Etruscan Asil, T.L.E. 205!)), from Luwian
'Aifiya- "the beloved goddess", and Levs'lLefs' (cf. also Lyd. A III, 2: Labl x (= Etruscan
LusllLasl, T.L.E. 719!), from the same Indo-European root as Latin dens "god", may
perhaps be attributed to the influence of the Leleges in Lydia. For the former is also
traceable in the place name Assos in Boeotia, whereas the latter seems to appear as the first
element in the mythical name Leukarion (= Deukalion, see P.W., s.v.; for the Anatolian d/l-
change, cf. Hit. Labarna-ITabarna-, labyrinthosfMyc. da-pu 2 -ri-to-jo (gen.), etc.), which
hence would be interpretable as "god of the Carians".
My colleague Daan Smit was so kind to inform me that the population around Millawanda
(= Milete) in Caria is probably called Lukka by the Hittites in the Tawagalawas-letter, cf. T.
R. Bryce, "The Lukka Problem — and a possible solution", Journal of Near Eastern Studies
33, 1974, p. 403-4.
41 Horn. II. XX, 92f; XXI, 86; Strab. XIII, 1, 7 (Ida, Lyrnessos, Pedasos). For the Cilices,
see P. W., s.v. and Strab. XIII, 1, 7 (Thebes, Lyrnessos, Aisopos).
42 Strab. IX, 2, 3.
43 Thuc. IV, 109; cf. Herod. VI, 137. Note that on Lemnos they are probably to be
identified with the Carians recorded here by I.G. XII, 8 and Steph. Byz., s.v. Imbros.
44 Herod. I, 57 (Placia and Scylace).
45 Some further confirmation for this supposition is offered by the correspondence of the
enclitic copula -m "and" on the Lemnos stele with Lycian -me, ibid., see J.G.P. Best,
"Bilingual Inscriptions on the Stele from Lemnos", Supplementum Epigraphicum
Mediterraneum, Talanta 13, 1981, p. 59, or perhaps better with Lydian -m, ibid., see P.
Meriggi, "Die erste Person Singularis im Lydischen", Revue Hittite el Asianique XIX, 1935,
F. C. WOUDHUIZEN
Pelasgoi mentioned above evidently refers to the Boeotian Leleges (see
As it seems, therefore, literary evidence closely corresponds with the
views based on the archaeological and linguistic material in leading us to
the conclusion that central Greece was inhabited by Thracians and west-
Luwians before the arrival of the Greeks.
— ■ —
<i 1/2 <sy \ VT"\
/ 51 ~Zr
Of these two population groups, the west-Luwians were the culturally
dominant one, especially in matters of religion. The cult of the Mother
Goddess was distributed over southern and central Greece by the
Lykomidai 46 — who, on account of their mythical ancestor Lykos, were
Lycians* 1 — , probably because it was introduced by them from Crete, 48
46 Paus. IV, 1, 5—9; the ancestors of the Eleusinian Kaukon, Phlyos and Kelainos, are
clearly linked up with the Lykomidai (= Etruscan lauchumneti (T.L.E. \)tlanchumite (Arch.
Class. 18, 1966, p. 291), or, in Latin transcription, Lucumones "kings"!), who are located in
Phlya, in which region Artemis Kolainis is worshipped, see Paus. I, 31, 2-3. For the
connection of Lykos with the Kabeiroi at Thebes, see Paus. IX, 16, 4 and note 79 of the
47 Herod. I, 173; Paus. I, 19, 4.
48 Horn. Hymn, to Demeter, 123; cf. Paus. I, 39, 4: Lelegan king Pylas (or Pylas, Paus. I,
5, 3, or Pylos, Paus. IV, 36, 1), ruling over Eleusis, and: introduction of the mysteries of
Demeter in Megara under Kar.
THRACIANS, LUWIANS AND GREEKS IN BRONZE AGE CENTRAL GREECE 199
whereas Carian persisted as a kind of church Latin until well into
historical times. 49 In view of this it no longer depends on sheer quesswork
to derive the name of the Musai, to whom the Helikon and the Olympos
were consecrated by Thracians, from Lycian mahdi/muhdi "gods", 50 or to
relate the name of the Kab(e)iroi, who were particularly worshipped by
the Thracians during the historical period 51 and identified with the
Dioskouroi or "Divine Twins" by the Greeks, with Lycian kbi- "two". 53
Part II: Minoan and Mycenaean Greeks
The arrival of Kadmos and his Phoenicians at Thebes is indicated by the
introduction of LH I Ware and the completely different orientation of the
associated walls with respect to those of the preceding MH period, whilst
the continued production of some MH material may be attributed to the
remaining Thracian Aones. 54
These earlier constructions were soon replaced by a more respectable
building, called the "House of Kadmos", which was destroyed by fire at
the beginning of LH IIIA, 2 (s. 1370 B.C.). 55 The pottery from a hoard,
which is probably associated with this destruction of the "House of
Kadmos", showed strong Minoan influences in its advanced piriform
shapes 56 and the building itself contained a large depot of 120 stirrup jars
for export purposes, including some 28 inscribed with Linear B texts,
which on account of their clay-analysis were produced in the Minoan
palaces of Palaikastro and Kato Zakro on eastern Crete. 57 As a similar
inscribed stirrup jar was found at Orchomenos, 58 occupied by the
Thracian Phlegyans and, like the rest of the Theban hinterland — apart
from some early LH-importations — persistently Minyan in character
during the earlier phase of the Late Bronze Age, 59 it is not unlikely that
4 " Herod. VIII, 135.
50 Strab. IX, 2, 25; X, 3, 17. See also note 12 above.
51 Fol-Marazov, Thrace and the Thracians, p. 20 (Odrysai), and note 32 above (Saoi).
52 P.W., s.v. Kabeiroi: theoi megaloi Samothraikon Dioskouroi Kabeiroi (inscription from
53 E. Laroche, "Comparaison du Louvite et du Lycien IV", Bulletin de la Societe de
Linguistique LXII, 1967, p. 47: *tw > kb in Lycian; p. 50: *tw > kw in Bronze Age Luwian.
54 S. Symeonoglou, Kadmeia I, Mycenaean Finds from Thebes, Greece, excavation at 14
Oedipusstreet, Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 35, Gotenborg 1973, pp. 13—16.
55 Symeonoglou, op. cit., p. 22 (room A); 73-4; cf. P. A. Mountjoy, Orchomenos V,
Mycenaean Pottery from Orchomenos, Eutresis and other Boeotian Sites, Munchen 1983, p. 9.
56 Symeonoglou, op. cit., pp. 16-7, 23, 32-3.
57 J. Chadwick, "The Linear B tablets from Thebes", Minos 10, pp. 117-9.
58 J. Raison, Les vases a inscriptions peintes de I' age mycenien et leur contexte
archeologique, Roma 1968, p. 119 and note 7: with Linear A sign!
59 Athens Annals of Archaeology 7, 1974, p. 313; Archaiologikon Deltion 28, 1973, pi. 258:
MH III/LH I graves of MH cist type only; G. Sotiriadis, Athenische Mitteilungen 30, 1905,
pp. 129-32: MH grave of Minyan king; Mountjoy, op. cit., p. 11: few LH I sherds; p. 32-4:
MH forms continued during LH I — IIIA; p. 109.
Cf. Goldman, Eutresis, p. 124: "Grey Minyan, however, persists, and Matt Painted to a
lesser degree, until the Late Helladic HI pottery makes its appearance."
200 F. C. WOUDHUIZEN
the "House of Kadmos" functioned as an outlying trading-post of the
Greeks from Crete to facilitate the export of Minoan products to the
Thracian inhabitants of central Greece.
This assumption is seemingly confirmed by the evidence of the Linear B
texts on the inscribed stirrup jars. These are characterized by the
ethnonyms o-du-ru-wi-jcf and wa-to. 6X The former strikingly recalls the
tribal name of the Thracian Odrysai, who lived in the northern Balkans
during the historical period, 62 but according to literary tradition once
inhabited the Parnassos region with Delphi and Daulis, where the
traditional Odrysian royal names Tereus and Sitalkas** and their mythical
singer Thamyris are attested. 64 Considering the fact that there is a
tendency in Linear B to drop the u before wa (cf.: e-wa-ko-ro = e-u-wa-
ko-ro), K the ethnicon wa-to, on the other hand, may perhaps refer to the
Thracian Hy antes — normally associated with forms like u-wa-ta, etc. 66 —
who also lived in Phokis at the time, the more so because this variant
spelling survived on Crete in Wakinthos for Hyakinthos during the
historical period. 67
Moreover, it is noteworthy that both these ethnonyms recur, in close
connection to other geographic indications found on inscribed stirrup jars
from the Greek mainland, in the central palace administration at Knossos,
possibly as suppliers of livestock. 68 In this light it may safely be assumed
that with the additional wa-na-ka-te-ro (= wanakteros "of the king") on
the o-du-ru-wi-jo-vase reference is made directly to the Greek king
residing at Knossos, whereas the Linear A entry pi-pi (= north-west
Semitic bibil "present"), which apparently slipped in for its Linear B
60 TH Z 839.
"THZ 846, 849, 851, 853, 854, 878.
62 M. Ventris and J. Chadwick, Documents in Mycenaean Greek, Cambridge 1973 2 , p. 212;
van Soesbergen, "Thracian" Onomastica, p. 200.
63 Strab. IX, 3, 13; Konon, Jacoby F.G.H. 26, fragm. 1, 31: Tereus; Paus. X, 15, 1:
Sitalkas; cf. Best, Thrakische Namen. Because the grave of Tereus is, according to Paus. I,
41, 8, situated at Pagai in the Megarid, the memory of his relations with Pandion, who is
also at home in this particular region, see Paus. I, 5, 3; 39, 4, is probably a reflection of
mutual relations between the Odrysai and the Leleges/Carians from the time that their
territories bordered on each other, i.e.: before the Greeks arrived.
64 Paus. IV, 33, 3; cf. ibid. X, 7, 2.
65 Ventris-Chadwick, Documents, s.v.
66 Ventris-Chadwick, Documents, s.v.; cf. van Soesbergen, "Thracian" Onomastica, p.
202. Cf. also u-wa-mi-ja (= Hyameia) with Hyamos.
67 P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Langue Grecque, Histoire des Mots IV,
Paris 1977, s.v. Hyakinthos. (Prof. dr. C. J. Ruijgh was so kind to draw my attention to this
particular variant form).
68 Ventris-Chadwick, Documents, no 83, p. 211—2: together with pa r ko-we and da-*22-to
(see also Best, Thrakische Namen); cf. no 66, p. 202; ophelos "deficit": 63 rams.
THRACIANS, LUWIANS AND GREEKS IN BRONZE AGE CENTRAL GREECE 201
pendant do-so-mo (= dosmoi, id.) on some of the wa-to— vases, 69 evidently
points to the Minoan palaces of eastern Crete, where Linear A continued
to be used by the local scribes. 7 "
If all this is correct, the immediate implication is, of course, that these
inscribed stirrup jars were actually presents of Cretan palace officials or
even the Greek king at Knossos to important Thracian business-
After the violent destruction of the "House of Kadmos", occurring almost
simultaneously with the fall of Knossos during the LM IIIA, 1/2
transitional period (c. 1370 B.C.), 72 central Greece was subject to a rapid
process of Mycenisation. At Thebes the former merchant-house was
succeeded as early as during the LH IIIA, 2 period by a Mycenaean palace
with a completely different orientation, 73 and Orchomenos clearly rivalled
Thebes from this time onwards with its monumental tholos tomb, called
the "Treasury of Minyas" (LH IIIA, 2), 74 Mycenaean palace and extensive
drainage system (LH IIIB). 75
In close correspondence with these data it is stated by literary tradition
that Thebes was handed over after the war against Argos — in which it
was assisted by the Phlegyans and "mercenaries from Phokis'T 6 — to an
Argive vassal-king, Thersander. 77 In addition their Phlegyan allies were
driven from Orchomenos to Panopeus in Phokis, 78 where they ran up
against the Argives from Delphi, headed by Philammon, 79 and
subsequently went to Thessaly, 80 but the old established Thraciai royal
house was maintained here, in order to attain its respectable position 81 and
69 J.G.P. Best, "Cretan Writing: Origins and Developments," in: Interaction and
Acculturation in the Mediterranean, Proceedings of the Second International Congress of
Mediterranean Pre- and Protohistory, Amsterdam 1980, p. 169, note 50. The interpretation of
pi-pi as bibil from Semitic biblu(m) I owe to oral information of Mr. Best.
70 Best, Von Piktographisch zu Linear B, pp. 41, 44—5.
71 Cf. L. R. Palmer, Mycenaeans and Minoans, London 1965 2 , p. 207, where it is stated
that jars of oil were customary gifts between kings during the El Amarna period (c. 1370
72 Palmer, op. cit., p. 219; cf. p. 305.
73 Symeonoglou, op. cit., p. 22: rooms B and C, and associated pottery, group B from the
ivory-pottery hoard (LH IIIA, 2); cf. Th. G. Spyropoulos, Kadmos, Supplement no 4, 1975,
p. 70: Mycenaean palace, p. 54: building activity started during LH IIIA, 2.
74 H. Schliemann, "Exploration of Orchomenos", Journal of Hellenic Studies 2, 1882,
p. 135ff; because this tomb is said to be copied from the "Treasury of Atreus" at Mycenae,
see R. Hope Simpson, Mycenaean Greece, New Jersey 1981, p. 61, dated "no earlier than
the end of LH IIIA, 1", see Hope Simpson, op. cit., p. 14, it may safely be ascribed to the
LH IIIA, 2 period.
75 Hope Simpson, op. cit., p. 61.
76 Paus. IX, 9, 1.
77 Paus. IX, 5, 7.
78 Paus. IX, 36, 2; X, 4, 1.
79 Paus. IX, 36, 2; X, 7, 1.
80 See note 26 above.
81 Horn. Od. XI, 287f.
F. C. WOUDHUIZEN
proverbial richness 82 under the legendary king Minyas. 63 At the time of the
Trojan War, however, both Orchomenos and Thebes were utterly
reduced 84 as a result of their unceasing and deep-rooted rivalry, 85 which
ultimately depended on the clear political insight of their Mycenaean
Table I: Distribution of Place Names on ss- and -nth-l-nd- in the Aegean Region
11. IX, 381.
IX, 36, 3.
U. II, 495-516.
IX, 37, 2.
THRACIANS, LUWIANS AND GREEKS IN BRONZE AGE CENTRAL GREECE
(?) location uncertain
curs, identical in Greece
P. Kretschmer, Einleitung in die Geschichte der griechischen Sprache, Gottingen 1970 2 ,
pp. 308ff, 402, 405-6.
J. B. Haley, "The Coming of the Greeks. The geographic Distribution of the Pre-Greek
Place Names", American Journal of Archaeology 32, 1928, passim.
M. P. Nilsson, Homer and Mycenae, Phildelphia 1972 2 , fig. 1.
L. Zgusta, Kleinasiatische Ortsnamen, Heidelberg 1984, s.v.
1. Place names on -«-, mainly found in Attica, have been left out, but it
is generally accepted that this suffix is identical to -ss-, see for example R.
A. Crossland, "The supposed Anatolian origin of the place names in -ss-
and -tt-", Atti VII Congr. Int. di Scienze Onomastiche I, Florence 1961.
2. Place names on -dessos and -dessa have also been left out, for they
appear to be concentrated in Thrace, e.g.: Edessa, Salmydessos, Odessa,
3. If the suffix -kynthos ot-kindos, also used in the PN Hyakinthos, can
be compared to both Lycian -kenda ox-kinda and Thracian -kenthos or
-kinthos, see Detschew, Sprachreste, s.v., it turns out to be less indicative.
4. It is important to note that the roots of some of the given place
names in Greece are undoubtedly Luwian, viz.: parna- "house", labrys
"double axe" and Lar- on account of the Pisidian PN LarlLir. A few
Greek roots, on the other hand, like amphi- and anti-, testify that this
formation of place names was incidentally taken over by the Greeks in the
process of acculturation.
5. Place names on -ss- along the coastal regions of the Pontos Euxeinos
(Hermonassa on the Bosporus, Aigissa at the mouth of the Danube) and
204 F- C. WOUDHUIZEN
the Mediterranean Sea (Herbessos in Sicily, Tartessos in Iberia) seem to
indicate that this particular suffix was still in use during the Early Iron
Age (c. 850—700 B.C.), when Luwian population groups were involved in
international trade, see F. C. Woudhuizen, "Etruscan Origins: The
Epigraphic Evidence", Talanta 14-15, 1983-1984, part II.
THRACIAN BURIAL RITES
OF LATE BRONZE AND EARLY IRON AGE
Considered as an expression of the religious beliefs, the burial rites of the
Thracians have been discussed by Bulgarian and foreign scientists
comparing archaeological and mythological data in order to find some
material evidence for the Thracian beliefs as narrated in the literary
sources, or to explain the close similarities between the best specimens of
the Mycenaean sepulchral architecture and its Thracian analogues from
the Iron Age period. 1
Having in mind that the problem of the characterization of the specific
features of the burial rites both in Thrace and in Greece is sufficiently
complicated and that in the case of the former it still has not been
generalized, this paper is not intended to look for parallels, but simply to
outline the general tendencies of the development and alteration of the
Thracian burial rites in the periods of great ethnocultural, social and
economic changes. It is based both on the detailed publications of some
already explored and well-known archaeological sites as well as on some
short preliminary reports on more recent results from archaeological
excavations. The full publication of the latter will undoubtedly alter some
of our ideas, but even now they are conspicuous enough to be considered
as key pieces in the intricate puzzle that is the problem of the burial rites
The Late Bronze Age in Thrace is a period of innovations in all spheres
of the Thracian reality, although tradition ascending to earlier periods is
particulary strong. Burials where the body is laid crouched — only now
without ochre — reflect this tradition. Some of the graves are flat (in NE
Thrace — the necropolis near the village of V. Levski; in the Marica
valley, near the town of Nova Zagora 12 graves orientated N-S, NE-SW,
lying on the right side were found). 2 In both territories barrow-graves of
1 A/i. 0oa, IlojiHTHMecKa HCTopmi Ha TpaKHTe, Coipim 1972, c. 61-64; B. Mukob,
npoH3xom>T Ha Kynonmrre rpo6HHUH b TpaKmi — C6. T. H. KauapoB II (HAH t. XIX,
1955, c. 15-48).
1 He. tlanauomoe, Ma. AmeAoea, Pa3xonKH Ha Hexponon ot Ki>CHaTa 6poH30Ba enoxa b
m. 'TpaflHHHTe", c. B. JleBCKH, TtproBHHiKH oicpir — ApxeoJiorHMecKH otkphthji h
pa3KonKH npe3 1977 r., Bhjhh 1978, c. 45; M. K-bHHee, T. KtHHeea, Pa3KonKH Ha Heicponon
ot Ki>CHo6poH30BaTa enoxa b HoBa 3aropa — ApxeonorHiecicH otkphthji h pa3KomcH npe3
1981 r., MHxaiuioBrpan 1982, c. 26.
232 D. GERGOVA
the same rite are also known (the necropolises near the town of Razgrad
and KruSevo, Sokol, Kovacevo and Malka Detelina villages). 3 All graves
are single, built in one or two levels under mounds of earth or stone. Only
in one case — in the barrow-grave near Malka Detelina — three skeletons
were found in the centre of the mound.
Grave-goods are most rare: in NE Thrace an earthenware vessel has
been found and in N Thrace two bronze swords of the type Naue II are
known, retrieved from destroyed tumuli.
Constructions connected with the cult are exceptional: piled stones in
the centre of the tumulus near the village of Sokol and a clay 'oven',
supposed to be connected with the funerary cult in the barrow near the
village of Malka Detelina.
A new phenomenon for Thrace in the beginning of the Late Bronze
Age is the appearance of the Culture of the encrusted ware in the NW
Thracian areas (i.e. the cultural complex Cirna-Cirla Mare-Orsoja-Balej).
In the flat cemetery near the village of Orsoja, 258 single graves have
been explored and two double graves, in which a smaller urn lays upon a
bigger one. 4 The earthenware belonging to this culture is richly decorated
with solar symbols and other motifs. The numerous cult objects — clay
double axes, boats, thrones, anthropomorphic female figurines in dresses
richly adorned with metal (in one case there were two figurines found one
into the other) and others reveal the existence of some strict burial
practices and an intricate ideological doctrine 5 among the bearers of this
culture, supposed to have come from Pannonia. 6 Some authors connect the
clay models of chariots driven by swans or some other water birds with the
myth of Apollo, who used to go to the North in springtime and return to
Delphi in autumn. 7 The presence of clay figurines of water birds, found
together with bronze swords in some of the graves, probably testifies to
the higher social status of the defunct. 8
3 T. Haanoe, Cm. Koaohhob, PaiKonKH Ha Hanrpo6ira moj-hjih b Pa3rpaflCKH oicptr —
ApxeonormecKH otkphth» h pa3KoriKH npe3 1979 r., XacKOBO 1980, c. 56; Am. Mujinee, H.
Koeanee, HeoSHapoaBanH naMe-ramm ot CeBJiHeBCKO — Apxeononui IX, 1967, kh. 2, c. 40;
En. Eaifoea, M. Ki>HHee, Hobootkphth TpaKHHCKH norpeoemw b HoB03aropcKO —
Apxeojionw XVI, 1974, kh. 1, c. 50—52; R. Hukoaob, M. Kwiee, E. Eopucoe, Pa3KonKH
Ha Haarpo6HH moiujih b eHeprHHHHfl KOMiuiexc "Mapnu,a-M3TOK" — ApxeojionwecKH
oTKpHTHS h pa3KonKH npe3 1978 r., ria3apA*HK 1979, c. 50—41.
4 Tp. <Piuiunoe, Heicponoji ot K-bcHaTa 6poH30Ba enoxa npH c. Opcoa, JIomcko. CckJhui
1976, T a6ji. LXV.
5 Aa. 0oa, HHTepnpeTaiDM h peHHTepnpeTaiuu: TpaKiu h H3tohhoto CpeflH3eMHOMo-
pHe npe3 XVI-XI b. np.H.e. — H3KycTBO 1983 kh. 1 c. 16.
6 B. Brukner, B. Jovanovic, N. Tasit, Praistorija Vojvodine, Novi Sad 1974, s. 232.
7 M. GaraSamn, J. Kovatevic, Archeoloske nalazi u Jugoslaviji, Beograd 1966, tabl.
8 P. reoptueea, CaKpanHHirr xapaKTep Ha opHHToiuiacTHKaTa ot paHHoacejixuiaTa enoxa
b GaceifHa Ha Bapnap h XajmaKMOH — Thracia Antiqua 2, 1977, c. 67.
THRAC1AN BURIAL RITES OF LATE BRONZE AND EARLY IRON AGE 233
A third area in Thrace — the Rhodopes — feature another type of
burials: stone tumuli cover either the incineration in situ or the urn with
the ashes (the necropolises near the villages of Satovca and Borino as well
as the necropolis flooded now by the waters of the Batak dam). 9 These
graves are single and in some of them potsherds are dispersed. The
barrow-grave near Exochi, dated to the same period, confirms that it is
the usual grave form for this part of Thrace. 10 It is difficult to trace the
origins of this type of burials, for up to now we lack any information
about burials of earlier times in this same area. However, the presence of
fragments of earthenware characteristic for the Late Bronze Age culture
as known in NW Thrace (the Cirna-Girla Mare-Orsoja-Balej complex) in
tumulus No. 7 near Satovca and the intensive contacts of the SW Thracian
population with the areas north of the Danube 11 suggest that this type of
burial developed under the influence or perhaps even with the
participation of north Thracian ethnocultural elements.
Tumulus No. 7 near SatovCa village belongs to a big cemetery of more
than 100 barrows, dating from the Late Bronze Age to the Roman period.
Three cult places, or sanctuaries are situated in the environs of the
cemetery, 12 showing that in this part of Thrace in the Late Bronze Age
began the formation of some big funeral and cult complexes which
developed further on during the Iron Age period.
The beginning of the Early Iron Age in Thrace is marked by some new
and noticeable changes in burial rites. Along with the earlier traditions in
NW Thrace appear the first tumuli (Leskovec), 13 dated to the 11th -9th
century B.C., including earthenware of types closely connected with the
forms and ornamentation characteristic of the local culture in the previous
Inhumation of the dead in crouched position continues in NE Thrace
(Cerna — 8 graves orientated NW-SE, S-N, some including grave-goods) 14
9 H. IXoHHee, Am. Mujinee, Pa3KonKH b qamaTa Ha inoBHp "BaTaK" — HAH t. XX II,
19, c. 188-190; R. Uounee, ApxeanoraHecKH pa3Konicn b qauiaTa Ha jtcobhp BaTaK —
Apxeojiormi I, 1959, kh. 3, c. 83—86; R. repzoea, Ma. KyAoe, Pa3KonKH Ha TpaKHHCKH
MorajieH HeKponoJi npu c. KoiaH — ApxeojiorHHecKH otkphthji h pa3xonKH npe3 1978 r.,
na-iapn>KHK 1979, c. 51; Excavations made by the colleague VI. Mircev. The materials are
kept in the District Historical Museum — Smoljan.
10 Ch. Koukouli-Chrysanthaki, Late Bronze Age in Eastern Macedonia — Thracia
Praehistorica Supplementum, Pulpudeva 3, p. 254, Sofia 1982.
11 A. Hochstetter, Spatbronzezeitliches und fruheisenzeitliches Formengut in Makedonien
und Balkanraum, in: Siidosteuropa zwischen 1600 und 1000 v. Chr., Berlin 1982, S. 115,
12 Surface investigations and excavations of the colleague M. Domaradzki.
13 fl. U,eemaHoea-Atpe, Pa3KonKH Ha JIcckobckoto rpannme h Henponona icpaft Hero,
MHxaitnoBrpaflCKH oicptr — ApxeojiontHecKH otkphthji h pa3KomcH npe3 1982 r., HneBeH
1983, c. 38-39.
14 Me. BacuAHUH, Pa3KonKH Ha tpukhhckh HeKponoji npn c. HepHa, Tan6yxnHCKH OKptr
— ApxeononnecKH otkphthji h pa3KonKH npe3 1979 r., XacKOBO 1980, c. 51; Idem,
234 D. GEROOVA
and another burial of this type in a cist is known in SW Thrace too, near
Pavelsko village. 15
In NE Thrace a double female burial in crouched position appears now
for the first time in the necropolis near Cerna.
Inhumation of bodies lying supine are known from the town of Razgrad
(with an iron sword type Naue II) 16 and another near the town of Stara
Zagora (in a barrow-grave together with earthenware belonging to the
PSenicevo group). 17
In the Rhodopes (in the necropolises near the villages of Kutila and
Satovca, tumulus No. 11) continues the practice of incineration in urns. 18
A new and important fact is the appearance of incinerations in urns in
the valley of the Marica River (according to the finds from Gabarevo and
Manole villages)" — a fact unregistered for the previous period in this
area. The knobbed um from Gabarevo and the biconical Gava-type urn
from Manole induce us to think of explaining this fact by a new wave of
population originating from the Carpatho-Danubian Basin penetrating this
area. A confirmation of such a process of penetration is based upon the
finds from the tumulus near the village of Glavan. 20 Here incineration in a
big cist grave has been performed and clay water birds of the type known
from 'Apollo's chariot' mentioned above were found. These examples
illustrate the appearance of the bearers of two different cultural traditions
from the Carpatho-Danubian Basin in the valley of Marica River.
The swift formation of the megalithic culture in SE Thrace is another
important historical fact. Here, the local grave form is the dolmen with
individual interments (in one case only — a tripple interment), repeatedly
used, perhaps as a family tomb, along with cist graves and cave tombs. 21
Pa3iconKH Ha paHHOTpaKHHCKH HeKponoji npu c. HepHa, Toji6yxHHCKH oKpi>r —
ApxeonorHiecKH otkphthji h pa3KonKH npe3 1978 r., I1a3apA)KHK 1979, c. 53.
15 B. Mwoe, Pa3KonKH b PononHTe, rriHEM 1940-41, c. 19-27.
16 Annual Report of the Archaeological Society — Razgrad for 1930.
17 M- HuKOAoe, fl. Hhkob, Kp. Kcuinee, CnacHTeJiHH apxeojiorHHecKH pa3iconKH Ha
HaflrpoSHH MoriuiH — ApxeojiorHHecKH otkphthji h pa3KonKH npe3 1981 r., MnxaHJioBrpait
1982, c. 32-33.
18 fl. IJoHHee, TpaKHHCKo mothjiho norpeoeHHe b PononHTe ot crrapo*eji«3HaTa enoxa —
Apxeojiorom II, 1960, kh. 3, c. 52-53; ft. repioea, Ma. Kynoe, Pa3KonKH Ha TpaKHHCKH
MomneH HeKponoji npH cejiaTa KonaH h CaTOBia, EjiaroeBrpaflCKH OKpi>r — Apxeojio-
rHHecKH otkphthji h pa3KonKH npe3 1981 r., MnxaHJioBrpafl 1982, c. 32-33.
19 M. HuHUKoea, KepaMHKa ot crrapaTa xeJiittHa enoxa b TpaKHH — Apxeojionw X,
1968, kh. 4, c. 19,' o6p. 9; jj. IJ. /JuMumpoe, Tpoa VII6, h 6anKaHCKHTe TpaKHHCKH h
mh3hhckh mieMeHa — Apxeojionm X, 1962, kh. 4, c 11, o6p. 6.
20 P. KamuHnapoe, M. fluMumpoe, Pa3KonKH Ha Haflrpo6Ha Mornjia npH c FnaBaH,
CTapo3aropcKH OKptr — ApxeojiorHHecKH otkphthji h pa3KonKH npe3 1977 r., Bhahh 1978,
21 MerajiHTHTe b TpaKHu. CocpHJi 1976, t. I, c. 52 en.; MeraJiHTHTe b TpaKHJi. Co<pnji
1982, t. II, c. 263 en.
THRACIAN BURIAL RITES OF LA TE BRONZE AND EARLY IRON AGE 235
The appearance of horse burials in some Early Iron Age barrows is the
next important fact (one burial in NW Thrace, near Leskovec village,
llth-9th century B.C. and a later one, from the 8th-7th century B.C.
near the village of Sofronievo). 22
Perhaps the most important fact concerning the whole Thracian territory
is that from the beginning of the Early Iron Age on, we may speak of
biritualism as a typical practice. And while speaking of biritualism, it
should be clear that this phenomenon is manifest not only within Thrace,
but within one and the same cultural area, within one and the same
tumulus. It remains thus typical for the whole period of development of
the Thracian culture (cf. as illustration the necropolises near Leskovec
and Yankovo villages, etc.). 23
Thus, the Iron Age is the period within which the typical aspects of
Thracian funeral rites begin to emerge one after the other and by the 8th
century B.C. we already face a rich mosaique of burial rites and cult
practices connected with the Thracian barrow-graves. From that time on,
we have information about the regional development of rites and grave
constructions, about the social differentiation, about the status of man and
woman in Thracian society, etc.
On the basis of the available archaeological data we may say that by
the beginning of the second half of the Early Iron Age period, i.e. the 8th
century B.C., separate larger or smaller cultural areas are clearly outlined
by the mere preference shown for one or another type of burial or grave
In NW Thrace both inhumation and incineration are practised, in single
— and perhaps also in double or collective — graves, flat or under
barrows. The absence of any regular, large-scale excavations in this area
does not allow anything more to be said, although two important aspects
should be underlined. First, it is the high number of bronze adornment
grave-goods, worked out in the tradition of the local Late Bronze Age
culture and the second is the combination of bronze adornments with arms
— spearheads and horse bits probably — in some graves found near the
villages of Pali Lula and Sofronievo. 24 The first shows that the tradition of
the richly adorned garments of the female anthropomorphic figurines of
the Late Bronze Age in NW Thrace continues in the Early Iron Age,
22 fl. Ueemanoea-Azpe, Op. cit.; 5. Hukojios, TpaKHHCKH naMCTHHUH »t,b BpanaHCKo —
HAH t. XXVIII, 1965, c. 166-167, o6p. 4-6.
23 M. Ueemanoea-Azpe, Op. cit.; i/e. JlpeMcu30ea, Haflrpo6HM moi-hjih npH c. Mhkobo —
HAH t. XIX, 1955, c. 61-83.
24 P. IJonoe, MarepnajiM 3a npoyMBane Ha XajimaTCKaTa h JlaTeHCicaTa Kyjrrypa b
E-wirapHS — THM t. Ill, 1921, c. 157-159; B. Hukojiob, Op. cit.
236 D. GEHGOVA
probably with the same supposedly cult character 25 of the dress. The
second raises the question of the archaeological expression of the social
differentiation in NW Thrace and the status of the woman in it.
There is one specific feature for NW Thrace, i.e. barrows with a solely
cult character. It may turn out as a characteristic feature for the whole of
Thrace, but up to the present they are registered only in barrows lying in
the area between the towns of Gabrovo and Lovec. Bronze adornments
have been found here in barrows containing no interment: in an 'empty'
barrow near M. Brestnica village — three bracelets on a stone plate; in
another near Gumosnik village — a belt applique and seven bracelets in a
leather bag; in a third near Stolat village — thirty bracelets. This proves
that the tumuli in Thrace were connected not only with burials, but also
with some pure religious practice.
In NE Thrace strong preference for incineration in urns put in pits or
stone boxes and covered by a small barrow is shown — apparently a
typical phenomenon for the Getaean tribes (as it is the case of the
necropolises near Dobrina, Ravna, Cerna and Kragulevo villages), 27
although biritualism was also practised under tumuli and secondary
skeleton burials in some Early Bronze Age barrows are also registered
(Carevbrod, Belogradec). 28 The stone boxes are treated as family graves
and usually contain 2-4 urns. Grave No. 15 in the necropolis near
Dobrina is of a particular interest, for it is one of the rare instances ot a
simultaneous family burial. Here, the unburnt skull of the woman is
placed in the urn of the man. The social differentiation is archaeologically
proved not only by the existence of graves of the same rite containing
more or less numerous and varying objects (grave No. 12 from Dobrina
necropolis contains an iron double axe, a shield boss, a spear head, etc.),
but also by the appearance of grave-goods in gold in some graves in the
necropolises near Carevbrod and Belogradec. These burials belong
25 D. Gergova, Genesis and Development of the metal ornaments in Thracian lands
during the Early Iron Age (llth-6th centuries B.C.) — Studia Praehistorica 3, 1980,
26 B. Mukob, MonuiHH HeicponojiH ot JloBHaHCKO h TeTeeeHCKO — HBAH t. VI,
1930-31, c. 168, o6p. 148; with acknowledgement to the colleague G. Kitov who kindly
authorised access to the materials from diggings led by him; Am. MuAtee, ApxeojionraecKH
npoyHBaHHH b TpoHHCko h CeBJiHeBCKO — rcy-4>HG>, t. 50, 19, c. 460.
27 M. Mupiee, TpaiwflcKH Monuien hckdoiioji npH c. Ao6pnHa — MHMB I, 1965, c. 33
cji.; idem, PaHHOTpaKHftcKHjrr MonuieH Heicponoji npn c. PaBiia — HAH t. XXV, 1962,
c. 97 en.; He. Bocuahuh, Op. cit.; Idem, Pa3KonKH Ha TpaKHficK.Hn Heicponoji npH
c. KpT.ry.neBO, Toji6vxhhckh OKpT>r — ApxeoaonraecKH otxphtim h pa3KonKH npe3 1977
r., Bhhhh 1978, c. 60; Idem, TpaKHficKHHT HeKponoji npH c. KpiryneBo, Toji6vxhhckh
OKp-w — ApxeojionrsecKH otkphths h pa3KomcH npe3 1979 r., XacKOBO 1980, c. 52.
28 P. Ilonoe, MonutHH rpoooBe iron c. EHnxe — HBAH t. VI, 1930-31, c. 97-103; r.
Tonneea, KmuKan KHMepHHCKH -run ot c. BeJiorpap,eii, BapHeHCKH oicpir — Apxeononw
XVIII, 1976, kh. 3, c 52-56.
THRACIAN BURIAL RITES OF LATE BRONZE AND EARLY IRON AGE 237
chronologically to the so-called Thraco-Cimmerian horizon, 29 but ethni-
cally, they are definitely Thracian. The interpretation of the character of
these grave-goods makes us believe that the preference of inhumation to
incineration is due more probably not to a change of population caused by
invasion, but rather to some religious and ideological differences in the
bosom of Getaean society, as related by Herodotus. 30 Or, in other words,
the Getaean aristocracy was inhumated and the rest of the population
incinerated. It is difficult to say, however, on the basis of the available
data how the relatively rich graves with incineration should be treated —
as a transitional form of burial or as evidence of the existence of a third
social group within this society.
In SW Thrace, the flat cemeteries with cist graves near Kjustendil and
the big oval barrows in the valley of the StrumesiJca River connect the
valley of Struma with the valley of the Vardar River, where similar types
are also known. 31
The materials from the rest of southern Thrace reveal the most intricate
picture of burial rites and cult practices. In comparison with the Late
Bronze Age, the variety of grave forms increased enormously. Pits, cists,
graves with stone enclosures, stone platforms and others under stone
tumuli were simultaneously used. Bi ritual ism spread here as well. The
barrow was piled either over the very pyre, or over the urn containing the
ashes. Inhumation is marked by a great number of variants. Single, double
and collective graves have been found and to some of them special
attention should be paid. The social differentiation is reflected in one
barrow-gave near Satovca village: in the centre of tumulus No. 4 a woman
wearing a golden wire on the neck and a wide bronze band on one arm
was buried. Above her, two male burials and one female re-burial were
situated. The last phase of the piling of the tumulus is in the 1st century
B.C. 32 Thus, the continuous accumulation of the barrow over the initial
interment, the quantity of offerings dispersed in the mound as well as the
final date of its completion — all these observations give us grounds to
consider this tumulus as one of the early instances for the development of
a tumulus into a heroon. The situation of this and some other graves in
29 r. Touneea, Op. cit.
30 Hdt. V, 7-8: They worship only these gods: Ares, Dionysos and Artemis, but kings
separately from the rest of the population worship among the Gods mostly Hermes. They
swear by him and claim to be his descendants.
51 Me. Benedwcoe, HaxoflKH ot paHHOxejuuHaTa enoxa b EtJirapiw — HBAfl XIV,
1963, c. 15-23; IJ. Aahkobo, PajKomcM Ha TpaKHiicKH Hexponoji b m. KaproBHTe rtpjin
(TeneTO, c. KaTpHue, KiocTeHAHjicKH oxptr) — ApxeonorHHecKH otkphths h pasKomai
npe3 1979 r., XacKOBO 1980, c. 58.
32 R. repzoea, Ma. KyAOe, Pa3Koniw Ha TpaKHHCKHfl MonuieH Heitponoji npH c. KonaH,
BjiaroeBrpancKH OKptr — ApxeojionwecKH otkphthh h pa3KonKH npe3 1976 r., Pyce 1977,
238 D. GERGOVA
the tumular necropolis near Satovca village (seven tumuli dating in the
Early Iron Age explored) reveals some important aspects of Thracian
burial rites. In five of these barrows, the central burial is that of a woman,
although the grave under tumulus No. 8 was furnished with bronze
adornments and iron spear heads. It is interesting to note that only in one
case there was a male funeral in the centre of the tumulus; in the other
cases the fire occupied the centre of the mound. This raises again the
question about the status of the woman in Thracian society and with-out
overestimating its meaning we can only indicate that similar pictures of
female graves with weapons have analogies with another great barbaric
people — the Scythians. 33
Another interesting feature of the burial rites in southern Thrace are the
double female graves (in the necropolises near the villages of Dolno
Sahrane, Kocan — tumulus No. 2, and Progled). 34 One double female
grave is also registered in NE Thrace (in the necropolis near Cerna
village). 35 It is quite probable for them to be interpreted as human
sacrifices, connected with some religious beliefs of the ancient Thracians.
Perhaps they could have some ideological connection with the burial rites
of the Late Bronze Age in NW Thrace as discussed above and in
particular with the anthropomorphic figurines put one into the other from
Orsoja and its double graves. At the same time the double female graves
remind us of the mythical Hyperborean couples of maidens — Arge and
Opis, Hyperoche and Laodike — who were sent with offerings to the
sanctuary in Delos, but who never came back. 36 Are they to be considered
the same type of 'messengers' the Getaean priests used to sed to their
supreme god, Zalmoxis? 37
Several circumstances reveal other aspects of the attitude of the
Thracians to the dead. Many of the graves in the W Rhodopes give
evidence for a re-burial of the defunct (Satovca necropolis — tumulus
No. 4); for richer graves in which the bones are replaced by stones
(Satovca, tumulus No. 4); for partial burials — one body and two skulls
(Satovca, tumulus No. 3), etc. The last archaeological excavations in the
District of Lovec hit a tumulus dating from the 4th century B.C. where
33 O. H. ranma, JJo rarramw npo jkihohh noxoBamm 3i 36poe»o CKicjKbKoro nacy —
Ilpanj KHiBCbKoro nepxcaBHoro icropHHHoro My3eio, bhii. 1, KmB 1958, c. 175-182.
34 Jl. remoe, Moithjihh norpe6eHHH npu c. flonHO CaxpaHe — HAH Xt. XXVIII, 1965,
c. 208; H. repzoea, Ma. Kyjioe, Pa3KonKH Ha MorouiHHH Heicponan npn c. KonaH,
BjiaroeBrpajicKH OKpi>r — XXI HauHOHajma apxeojiorHiecKa KOHtf>epeHnn5i, Cmojish 1976,
35 Me. BacwiHUH, Pa3KonKH Ha TpaKHHCKiM HeKponoji npn c. HepHa, ToJi6yxHHCKH OKptr
— ApxeojioniHecKH otkphthh h pa3KonKii npe3 1977 r., Bh^hh 1978, c. 61.
36 Hdt., IV, 33-35.
37 Hdt., IV, 94.
THRACIAN BURIAL RITES OF LATE BRONZE AND EARLY IRON AGE 239
the body of the defunct has been 'dismembered' in four parts and buried
in four different places. 38 This fact merely proves that such a well
documented practice in southern Thrace is no more to be considered as a
regional distinctive feature — it might have been typical for other parts of
Thrace too. It reminds us of the myth about the death of Orpheus: torn
into pieces, his head buried later under a sema around which a heroon
developed later on. 39 All these facts suggest the existence of some
archaeologically well proved Thracian rites which are, perhaps, in some
connection with the Orphic doctrine.
The intricate burial rites in southern Thrace are accompanied by
different types of stone constructions of obviously cult character under the
mound — circles, pseudo-cist lined graves, rectangular stone platforms
imitating the covering of a cist grave, etc. These empty tumuli without any
trace of burials in them are of no lesser interest. Behind the existence of
these so-called pseudo-grave constructions, situated around or next to the
genuine grave, certainly stands some still unexplained idea of the Thracian
rites and beliefs. This same idea is more clearly manifested in a later
period. For instance, around the famous tomb near Svestari village (dating
from the 4th century B.C.), three empty tumuli, undoubtedly of the
pseudo-grave type have been recently explored.*
The different trisnae, the long accumulation of some of the mounds, the
cult constructions are some of the archaeological evidence for the real and
very strong presence of the cult of the dead in Thrace and which has
finally crystalized about the mid-Early Iron Age period.
The Early Iron Age tumuli in the necropolis near Satovca reveal various
moments in the burial rite when fire was burned: in the centre of the
tumulus (Satovca, tumulus No. 7), 41 near the central grave (tumuli Nos. 2,
10), above the central grave (tumulus No. 8). Fire burned before the
laying of the dead; after taking the bones out of the grave (tumulus No.
4); on the top of the mounds. That means that the burial rite used to
begin and finish with fire.
It becomes evident from everything said above that the formation of
Thracian burial rites began in the Late Bronze Age and was completed
38 r. Kumoe, 77. Ilaejioe, TpaKHHCKH moi-hjih span cenaTa HoiipeHUH h CMOiaH,
JIoBeniKH oicptr — ApxeojiorHiecKH otkphthji h pa3KonKH npe3 1984 r., Oihbch 1985,
39 Conon 45, 6.
40 With acknowledgement to the colleague M. Ciiikova for the communicated
41 Jl. repzoea, Ha. KyAoe, Pa3KonKH Ha TpaKMHCKn« MormieH Hexponoji npH c. KonaH,
BjiaroeBrpaflCKM OKp-br — ApxeojionmecicH otkphthx h pa iKonicH npe3 1978 r. , Ila3apfl)KHK
1979, s. 51-52.
240 D. GERGOVA
by the middle of the Early Iron Age period. It was a complicated process
in which different cultural traditions and ideological trends existing in
separate cultural areas intermingled as a result of mutual penetration and
contacts among different cultural groups. From a simple place for
disposing of the dead during the Late Bronze Age in some areas, the
barrow-grave became in the Early Iron Age a grave monument common
for all the Thracian world. Burial rites became very sensitive to all aspects
of social relations, status and religious beliefs — thus, the Thracian
tumulus became in itself a material expression of the former. It developed
further not only as a grave monument, but also as a heroon and a place
serving for other religious purposes. Burial rites in Thrace were not
universal — neither were they, for that matter, in ancient Greece. 42 But
even so, it is still evident that the specific regional features interlaced with
some aspects typical of the entire Thracian world seem to have become
ideologically unified as a sequence of the process of syncretism registered
in the beginning of the Early Iron Age. The ideology sustaining these
burial rites seems to have undergone little alteration for the rest of the 1st
millennium B.C., although its material expression did change. 43
42 D. Kurz and J. Boardman, Greek burial customs. London 1971.
43 An. <Pon, HHTepnpeTainui h peHirrepnpeTamui. . . c. 16—17.
POSniXA TO THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE FOURTH
INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF THRACOLOGY
JOHN G. GRIFFITH
I did not offer a formal Communication to the 1984 Congress at
Rotterdam, because I had no original work on a topic concerning Thrace
in the Mycenaean Age in a state of sufficient readiness. However two
points arose in the course of the Congress which I mentioned in casual
conversation and some of those who heard them were so kind as to urge
me to write them up and submit them as a kind of Anhang to the
The first related to Dr. Georgi Mihailov's excellent survey of the value
of Homer as a source for the study of the history of early Thrace,
(Contributions au TV' Congres International de Thracologie, Sofia, 1984,
pp. 12— 4U.) On p. 28 reference is made to the barony of a minor
Thessalian chieftain named Gouneus in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships
(Iliad II, 748-755). This passage puzzled my old friend, Sir Denys Page,
who left it unsolved with a despairing question mark in the insert to his
map opposite p. 120 of his book History and the Homeric Iliad (1957).
Neither is illumination on this passage to be found in Hope-Simpson and
Lazenby's definitive work The Catalogue of Ships in Homer's Iliad,
published in 1970, pp. 149-50.
The Poet of the Catalogue tells us that this otherwise unknown
Gouneus, who brought 22 ships from Cyphos to Troy, owned a large tract
of Northern Greece extending from "wintry Dodona" to "lovely Titaressos
(-esios)", a distance of about 140 kms "as the crow flies", across some of
the highest mountains in the whole Southern Pindus range. The answer to
this manifest conundrum is not to be found by scrutiny of ancient texts or
documents: better to venture out into those mountains and keep one's
eyes open. This is what the late Nicholas Bachtin did, and his acuteness in
this and in much else makes his death at the early age of 46 all the more
regrettable. It robbed the world of what might have been the definitive
Historical Grammar of Modern Greek which we still lack, to judge from
all of it which could be published, printed under the title of Introduction
to the Study of Modern Greek (Cambridge 1935). This is now a scarce
work: one searches for it even in the Bodleian Library at Oxford in vain. I
quote therefore from my own copy:
. . .This keynote of Thessalian history may modulate with the changing
circumstances of the age, but the pattern remains the same, the struggle (sc.
between mountain-folk and plains-dwellers) is eternal and forms the lasting
242 JOHN G. GRIFFITH
pivot round which all events revolve. The persistence of the essential pattern of
Thessalian life, the immutability of habits and routes of annual migration,
provides valuable clues for relating and interpreting the obscure, scattered data
preserved by mythical and literary tradition. Of this I quote here only a single
instance, that of the Enienes, concerning whom there is a much-discussed entry
in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships. Their chieftain Gouneus and his band is
said to have joined the Achaean army going to Troy and his domain is
described as including the region "about wintry Dodona" as well as the banks of
Thus an obscure chieftain of a small tribe appears to hold a district — a vast
empire indeed — extending from the Eastern borders of Thessaly along the
whole course of the Peneus, up to and beyond its sources, beyond Pindus and
down to Dodona. This is of course absurd. So all scholars who have exercised
their ingenuity on the riddle of the Enienes have tried to explain away the
distance between the Titaresius and Dodona, postulating either a second
Dodona in Thessaly near the Titaresios or a second Titaresios near Dodona.*
Yet all becomes clear once a simple fact has been realised (obvious to anyone
familiar with Thessaly): namely that Gouneus' domain was not a clear-cut
barony occupied by a sedentary people, but the fixed area of migration of a
half-nomadic tribe. Further it appears that the area covered by this migration
corresponds exactly to that of a definite group of Vlach shepherds of our own
day. The perennial routes (up the Arachthos and Peneios valleys), once
followed by the Enienes, still lead these Vlachs every spring from their winter
abodes (the district of Elassone on the banks of the Titaresios and the district of
Yanina "about wintry Dodona" to the grassy highlands above the source of the
Peneios. Here they meet and spend together the summer months, kinsmen from
both sides of Pindus —
01 jieoi Aco6(ovt)v 6uoxeiu£gov oixi' edevto, 750
01 t' djiqp' lu.errtov TiTaor|oiov egy' eveuovto,. . .
This region of summer reunion of the tribe is the Homeric Aithikes. And in fact
Aithikes, Plutarch tells us (Q. Gr. 13), was the dwelling-place of the Enienes.
Further, we learn from this (and from other sources) that the disturbing Enienes
were finally expelled from Thessaly by the Papithai and had to limit their
migration area to Aithikes and Epirus. And little by little the whole history of
the small tribe with its successive homes — from Dotion Pedion (the common
cradle of Lapithai, Centaurs and Phlegyai) down to their abode in historical
times emerges into light and disjointed bits of evidence begin to coalesce into a
perfectly consistent whole.
A full discussion of this interesting passage would carry me beyond the
limits of relevance to my present purpose. "Transhumance", as this
* This desperate expedient is perpetuated even by the otherwise admirably well-informed
Hope-Simpson and Lazenby. They fall back (op. cit. pp. 149-150) on the (admittedly)
tentative solution that Gouneus' Titaresios lay near Dodona. It may be worth remarking that
G.B. Grundy's map of Northern Greece (published by Murray, London in 1901, 4th edn
1926) — still by far the most accurate and helpful map for these purposes which has come
my way — shows only 3 place-names (one of them doubtfully located) which contain the
distinctive pre-Greek element -ss- as lying on or West of the watershed of the Pindus
mountains (Tyrissa, Arnissa and (?) Passaron), while there are at least a dozen lying North
of Amphissa on the Aegean side of the Pindus range. Allowance must be made for the very
sparse habitations in these mountains, but even so the absence of names of this form near
Dodona is too striking to pass unnoticed.
POSTILLA TO THE PROCEEDINGS 243
pattern of seasonal migration is called by anthropologists and others, is
found in many parts of the world; in Europe as far North as Scandinavia,
while in Italy Varro vouches for it in his de re rust. II. 1, 16 (". . .neque
eadem loca aestiva et hiberna idonea omnibus ad pascendum. itaque
greges ovium longe abiguntur ex Apulia in Samnium aestivatum. . ."). I
have myself encountered as recently as August 1963 an elderly father and
his young son (or even grandson) tending their cattle at a height of about
2100 metres above the village of Embrun in the French Alps on the route
leading to the Col de la Traversette, who told us that they had come up
from Aries, about 130 km away in the hot Rhone valley, having driven
their cattle "on the hoof in late spring up to the lush Alpine pastures,
where the animals thrived in summer, and would shortly be returning with
them down the Durance river to Aries for the winter. It seemed that they
had been doing this for generations.
The Homeric Gouneus provides the first instance of transhumance to be
documented in literature. It is, I suspect, exceptional, in that it concerns
what was once a split mountain tribe having not one but two migratory
routes, one going South-west to the Adriatic and the other East, to the
Aegean. Furthermore, if Plutarch and the other authorities are correct,
the right of passage to the Aegean was broken in dark-age times by the
tough Lapithai, but, on Bachtin's evidence Vlach herdsmen (or some
unknown predecessors of theirs) subsequently succeeded in reasserting the
privilege of grazing off alien pastures on their way up and down the
Peneus valley. The poet of the Catalogue has opened a window which
gives a glimpse of a behaviour-pattern reaching back, for all we can tell,
to immemorial antiquity, and I suspect that similar instances can be found
elsewhere in the Pindus range or the Rhodopees: I should be interested to
hear of attested cases. Or has this (horribile dictu) become yet another
casualty inflicted upon precious and venerable custom by the bureaucracy
that goes with what some are pleased to call "the progress of modern
My second point has nothing to do with the first, but is a tentative
explanation of the purpose of the mysterious triple vessel which forms part
of the "Treasure of Velchitrun". So far as I know, no suggestion has been
put forward which carries even a modest degree of conviction, and it may
be that this one will fare no better. Even if it eventually proves to be
wrong, it may nonetheless be justified if it stimulates others to find a
There is no reason to doubt that the three conch-shaped gold vessels
which make up this object, with their ribbed surfaces and other features
are at least as early as 13- 12th century B.C., but the soldering technique
of the cross-piping must be later; it is, I understand, not conceivable
244 JOHN O. GRJPHTH
technically before 9 -8th centuries. We have thus an artefact which has
been reworked in antiquity in a manner difficult to parallel. The elaborate
pipe-channels enabling liquid to flow from one of the three vessels to the
others only makes sense if it was intended to distribute a scarce fluid
between three or more drinkers, the last of whom may have had to drink
the lees left at the bottom. As I contemplated the object in its case in the
Boymans van Beuningen Museum at Rotterdam, I found myself recalling
a striking description of a strange ritual which took place in a remote
Greeks village near the Albanian border as recently as 1940 by Nicholas
Gage (Gatzoioannis) in his powerful but harrowing book Eleni, published
in 1983. The author gives an eye-witness account of the hardships of life in
this tiny Greek village in the foothills of the Mourgana (Grammos)
mountain range, until recently almost cut off from the outside world. In
an early chapter he has cause to describe a gruesome ceremony of
exhumation of the body of the author's aged grandmother, Fotini
Gatzoioannis, who had died 5 years before. She had been buried in the
village cemetery, but space was too scarce to allow of permanent burial,
so that the bones of the deceased had after this interval to be removed to
the local ossuary. The account, somewhat abridged, runs (pp. 28 f.):
. . .(the villagers) began to dig and the mourners lifted their keening voices. . .
Eleni (the old lady's daughter and the author's mother) took her turn at the
shovel and soon the black shroud wrapped around Fotini's body became
visible. . . They cleared away the rest of the dirt with their hands. The
mourners held their breath. . . there was a pungent, musty odour of decay as
the shroud was lifted off. . . The skeleton lay face up, its arms crossed over the
ikon, the gold cross lying on the breastbone, the coins to pay for the journey to
Hades long fallen into the eye-sockets. Then the women lifted the bones into a
copper ewer, where they were washed and sprinkled with red wine, in
preparation for re-interment in the small wooden ^ox less than two feet square
with crude lettering on the side: "Fotini Nik. Gatzoioannis, 1851-1935". After
the bones were washed clean and. . . piled into the box, the skull was turned
upside down like a chalice and red wine poured into the cranium. This cup was
passed from hand to hand, so that whoever wished might drink from it to erase
any curse that the deceased might have spoken against him in life. Foto (her
surviving son). . . held his mother's skull for a moment, then drank deeply. He
had been her sorrow in life, jailed for murder. . . a notorious adventurer, and
he had good reason to drink, for fear that she might have died with some
uncancelled curse against him. . . The skull was passed round the circle. . . to
Eleni, with the dregs of the wine inside. To-night it would rest by the altar of
St. Demetrios, and tomorrow it would be placed in the ossuary below the
church, where more than two centuries of villagers' bones lined the walls. . .
Eleni held the skull in her hands for a moment. . . and decided not to drink.
She had no fear that Fotini had left a curse against her. The woman had
bequeathed her nothing but blessings; most of all the example of her own life."
In the case of a simple peasant woman's death such as that described
here, the deceased's skull would be appropriate" as a chalice for this
POSTILLA TO THE PROCEEDINGS
macabre apotropaic ritual. But for an ancient chieftain's funeral something
more elaborate may well have been needed, and if many of his retainers
as well as his immediate family wished to participate, a triple vessel of this
kind could have been eminently suitable. I conceive that the Velchitrun
vessel was intended for use at the actual funeral, for in pagan times there
would have been no need to reinter the dead in order to make room for
others later in the very limited area of consecrated ground available,
neither is there any archaeological evidence for such exhumation of which
I am aware. If I am right in thinking that the pipe-channels were intended
to ensure the most economical distribution down to the last drop of a
scarce fluid, then it is reasonable to think that the vessel was used for the
drinking of blood, not wine, which would have been relatively plentiful, at
least on the occasion of a chieftain's funeral. The substitution of wine for
blood in the Mourgana ceremony would be a humanizing of a primitive
ritual under Christian influence, which also required the postponement of
the drinking rite from the funeral to the re-interment some years later. I
conceive that the participants of the Velchitrun rite advanced in threes,
and that a priest or, if you will, a celebrant held the triple vessel and tilted
it so that all could have at least a sip to avert any possible malediction by
the deceased. If the procedure has indeed been modified under Christian
influence, it is interesting that it was not further humanized by the use of
a sacred vessel in modern times instead of a skull. This suggests to me that
the ceremony in 1940 retains some very ancient features indeed, and it is
not extravagant to suggest that in this remote area we have a documented
survival of something eerie and primeval under a veneer of Christian
ritual. That nothing quite like it is found in ancient literature is not
perhaps surprising; tribal customs, especially in remote areas, can be very
private affairs; in fact Nicholas Gage is at pains to spell out the course of
the ceremony and to point out its apotropaic meaning. If it is legitimate to
project the event of 1940 back into remote antiquity, it may well be
suggested that the apotropaic rite may have been practised when there was
reason to suspect that the deceased might have left some unretracted curse
behind him, as might be if he had died violently or in tragic circumstances.
Or it might have been a custom brought in by some post-Homeric
invaders (since in its present form the object displays a later soldering
technique), such as the Dorians, if indeed it is still proper to speak of a
Dorian Invasion. This may lead to a possible explanation of the unusual
re-use of an earlier heirloom by adapting it to a special purpose by
innovative if somewhat inexpert craftsmen who sacrificed appearance to
meet the needs of a new set of beliefs. Whatever the truth about this
strange vessel, it deserves all the attention which critical curiosity can
bestow upon it.